GB / FRA
Dir: Paul King
Starring: Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins
A young Peruvian bear travels to London to find a home
This live action family comedy is based on the Paddington Bear stories by Michael Bond who had based Paddington Bear on a lone teddy bear he noticed on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve 1956, which he then bought as a present for his wife. The bear inspired Bond to write a story and in 10 days he had written the first book, A Bear Called Paddington, which was first published in October 1958. Not surprisingly, this popular part-animated film of the bear’s adoption by the Brown family features some good shots of London Paddington station with First Great Western HST sets visible. However, as Paddington station does not have much of a frontage, the establishing shot of the station entrance is that of nearby Marylebone, with the name Paddington superimposed onto the image. There is also a scene filmed at Maida Vale Underground station, which is proving to be a popular choice for film makers, interestingly masquerading in this film as ‘Westbourne Oak’, a clear corruption of Westbourne Park and Royal Oak. However, although we see the entrance to Maida Vale, the scenes filmed in the ticket hall and on the escalators used St. John’s Wood station, just to confuse matters. Finally, there is some very brief CCTV footage of trains at London Paddington station, with a Class 332 ‘Heathrow Express’ EMU the most readily identifiable. Michael Bond made a cameo appearance in the film as the ‘kindly gentleman’. He died before the release of the second film, Paddington 2 (qv), which was dedicated to ‘our friend’.