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A Bear Called Paddington, from darkest Peru to TV (and the internet)
December 25, 2013 1:01 PM   Subscribe

It all started on Christmas Eve 1965 (Google books preview), as a cold and wet Michael Bond was doing some last minute shopping. He had missed a bus, and ducked inside a department store to get out of the sleet. It was there that he saw a small bear, all alone on a shelf. On a whim, he picked it up as a stocking stuffer for his wife. The couple named him after the Paddington railway station that was near where they lived at the time. A few months later, Bond turned to Paddington to break his writers block, and the Paddington books were born. Paddington was turned into the UK's favorite animated character thanks to the 56 five-minute long episodes and three longer specials that were originally aired in the 1970s and 1980s, and are online in one form or another.

The original 1976 run, in order of air dates:
  1. Please Look After This Bear
  2. A Bear in Hot Water
  3. Paddington Goes Underground
  4. A Shopping Expedition
  5. Paddington and the Old Master
  6. A Spot of Decorating
  7. A Family Group
  8. Paddington Makes a Bid
  9. Do-It-Yourself
  10. A Disappearing Trick
  11. Something Nasty in the Kitchen
  12. Trouble at the Launderette
  13. Paddington and the Christmas Shopping
  14. Too Much Off the Top
  15. A Visit to the Dentist
  16. Paddington Cleans Up
  17. Trouble at No. 32
  18. Mr. Curry Takes a Bath
  19. Paddington Turns Detective
  20. Paddington and the Cold Snap
  21. Trouble at the Wax Works
  22. Paddington Makes a Clean Sweep
  23. A Sticky Time
  24. Paddington's Christmas
  25. Paddington Hits the Jackpot
  26. Paddington Hits Out
  27. A Visit to the Hospital
  28. Paddington Recommended
  29. Fortune Telling
  30. An Unexpected Party
The series had a two-year hiatus, continuing in late 1978
  1. Paddington in Court
  2. Paddington Bakes a Cake
  3. A Picnic on the River
  4. Paddington's Patch
  5. In and Out of Trouble
  6. Paddington at the Tower
  7. A Visit to the Bank
  8. Paddington Clears the Coach
  9. Picture Trouble
  10. Trouble at the Beach
  11. Keeping Fit
  12. Paddington in the Hot Seat
  13. Paddington and the Mystery Box
  14. Paddington's Puzzle
  15. Paddington Weighs In
  16. Paddington Takes a Snip
  17. A Visit to the Theatre
  18. Paddington Buys a Share
  19. Paddington in a Hole
  20. Paddington and the Finishing Touch
  21. Trouble in the Bargain Basement
  22. An Outing in the Park
  23. Paddington Dines Out
  24. Paddington Takes the Stage
  25. Paddington in Touch
  26. Comings and Goings at No.32
Here's a playlist of the 56 short episodes for ease of viewing.

The specials:
1980: Paddington Goes to the Movies

1985: Paddington Goes to School (low quality recording in parts - part 1, part 2, part 3)

1986: Paddington's Birthday Bonanza
posted by filthy light thief (39 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bloody Peruvian Immigrants - taking away our cuddly Jobs!
posted by homodigitalis at 1:39 PM on December 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Paddington Bear!!! Oh, this post brings back memories! Such stop motion. Much nostalgia. Wow!

One of the many cool things about Paddington's TV show was the unique style of animation, like peering inside one of the novels come to life. Definitely not the sort of thing children would be exposed to today, in this CGI rendered world.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:44 PM on December 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Colin Firth voices Paddington at a theatre near you Christmas 2014!

The weirdest thing was when I read about Paddington's dealings with the cast of something called Blue Peter. I still am not sure what it is.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:45 PM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lies, all lies. He comes from Peru, Lima I believe, and I'll not hear anything to the contrary.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:46 PM on December 25, 2013


One of the many cool things about Paddington's TV show was the unique style of animation, like peering inside one of the novels come to life. Definitely not the sort of thing children would be exposed to today, in this CGI rendered world.

My thoughts exactly. My son pulled out our Paddington books, which are still a bit too wordy for his 2.5 year old attention span, so I went looking for the animated series. The first thing I found was the less memorable late 1980s animated series, which both surprised me and made me sad. Why make a new series when there's the charming stop-motion version?

That version is on the US Netflix, but you can find some of the earlier stop-motion version on the UK Netflix. Huzzah "Hola Better Internet" addon!
posted by filthy light thief at 1:54 PM on December 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's just something about watching a realistic teddy bear come to life on TV that inspires one to think their own teddy might have similar adventures.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:02 PM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've never had a bear about the house before, but I have a feeling things may never be the same again.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 2:08 PM on December 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


InifiniteWindow - Blue Peter is the second longest running show on UK TV. Kids thing on ones' BBC.

I think its still on but all the kids stuff moved to CBBC (a new kids channel of the BBC) sometime back.

Now where's my marmalade sandwich.
posted by PaddyJames at 2:17 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Blue Peter is indeed still running. They had a competition to make sonic devices for the Paternoster Gang in Dr Who.

I'm not sure I have ever seen a full episode on my life, but it feels like I have.
Now, this Liberator bracelet isn't going to make itself.

(Also, move love for the old Paddington backgrounds is astounding).
posted by Mezentian at 2:25 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Paddington Goes to the Movies has a Singing in the Rain sequence that's almost a shot-for-shot remake of Gene Kelly's moves. It made a deep impression on me as a child.
posted by idb at 2:27 PM on December 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I used to read Paddington Bear books to my Dad before I could even read. They were pretty sparsely illustrated text dense books and I would just make shit up. As an adult I now realize he was probably sleeping with his eyes open and he missed on my confabulous stories.
posted by srboisvert at 2:31 PM on December 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


In 2002 there was a statue of the bear in Paddington Station. (Probably still there, but I haven't been back.)
posted by Bruce H. at 3:08 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still there...
posted by professor plum with a rope at 3:11 PM on December 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always find it hard to walk down Portobello Road and not think of Paddington, and especially Mr Gruber.

I always loved Michael Hordern's voices. So expressive and perfect for the job. Colin Firth is stepping into some pretty big boots.
posted by DanCall at 3:32 PM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Were the shows on TV in the US in the late 70's early 80's? I don't watch much, but I remember seeing Paddington stuff everywhere.
posted by brujita at 3:34 PM on December 25, 2013


I seem to remember PBS showing it, or preschools/elementary schools showing it as rainy day folder. I remember it, but not something I saw a lot.
posted by The Whelk at 3:39 PM on December 25, 2013


I loved these as a child, thank you so much for finding them for me.
posted by arcticseal at 3:50 PM on December 25, 2013


Huh! Paddington's creator Michael Bond worked as a BBC cameraman for Blue Peter!
posted by infinitewindow at 3:52 PM on December 25, 2013


During an interview for the Disney/P.L. Travers movie, Emma Thompson mentioned she was working on a Paddington script in some capacity, so there may hope. I hope they get it right, though my experience of the books was being read the stories at bedtime in the late 1960s, so I have a very particular but clear idea of what "right" is. Mention in the cast list of Millicent the evil taxidermist doesn't suggest that they do.

Paddington's ability to talk is a curiosity rather than anything extraordinary throughout the books - he's an outsider, with his bearness signifying the outsiderness. Very much like Howard the Duck, in fact. Unlike Mary Plain, a very similar concept read by Richard Wattis on Jackanory, there's no sign that he's an animal at all. The stories revolve around his stubbornness, decency and tendency to act as an attractor for chaos. That really ought to be enough. There's no need for a taxidermist of whatever moral stripe. I feel the need to find the scriptwriter and director and give them a Hard Stare, much like that taught to Paddington by his Aunt Lucy.

Michael Bond also wrote about Olga da Polga ( a fantasist guinea pig, who I never really took to), The Herbs (which hit Watch With Mother about when I was the target audience, but I'd forgotten it was Michael Bond) and Thursday the mouse (I can't find a really good link for this, but I think I might try re-reading Here Comes Thursday, as I remember it being very good, but the last time I read it was over forty years ago, so my memory might be failing me).
posted by Grangousier at 4:05 PM on December 25, 2013 [7 favorites]




During an interview for the Disney/P.L. Travers movie, Emma Thompson mentioned she was working on a Paddington script in some capacity

HANDS OFF DISNEY
SAVE PADDINGTON FOR THE NATION
posted by Bwithh at 4:13 PM on December 25, 2013


Want to know something funny?

I am eating toast with marmalade right now.

Paddington may disapprove of the rum and Dr Pepper I'm washing it down with though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:24 PM on December 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Bears is sixpence extra. Sticky bears is ninepence."
posted by moonmilk at 4:27 PM on December 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


Berenstain Bears.

"Too Much _______."

All day long.
posted by Colonel Panic at 4:53 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Paddington was pretty great. But Ivor Wood also gave us the astonishing Dougal.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:03 PM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I seem to remember "Paddington" coming on as part of The Great Space Coaster.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:41 PM on December 25, 2013


Oh, I love Paddington, though I admit Olga da Polga is even more my girl.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:43 PM on December 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks very much for the playlist full of Paddington Bear, I've forwarded it to a British friend of mine -- er, who I hope will not think it is pandering* or anything like that. I've always liked Paddington, I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't.

* Pandering Bear.
posted by JHarris at 5:43 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Did you say you were from Peru?" called Mrs. Bird.

"Darkest Peru," said Paddington.

"In that case I'd best be getting some more marmalade in," said Mrs. Bird.

"Fancy knowing I like marmalade," exclaimed Paddington.

"Mrs. Bird knows everything about everything," said Judy.

"She sounds just like Aunt Lucy," said Paddington.

   -   -   -

I wouldn't doubt that Mrs. Bird has a bit of Jeeves in her lineage.
posted by JHarris at 5:49 PM on December 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've always liked Paddington, I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't.

Broken, damaged people.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:16 PM on December 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Colonel Panic: "Berenstain Bears.

"Too Much _______."

All day long.
"

I will defend the early Berenstain books. The later ones - where Stan and Jan's evangelical Christian kid got involved in production - do suck.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:20 PM on December 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I remember these! I loved Paddington as a kid!!
posted by luckynerd at 7:39 PM on December 25, 2013


The Paddington movie is in production right now (an old friend of mine is producing it). The production company is Heyday, who did the Harry Potter stuff. I don't know if they've been to darkest Peru but they've definitely been shooting in S America.
posted by sweet mister at 7:39 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


  Broken, damaged people.

It makes me so terribly sad to know that the first recipient of a toy Paddington Bear was Jeremy fucking Clarkson.
posted by scruss at 8:00 PM on December 25, 2013 [3 favorites]




wow i haven't thought of this show since childhood. love this! thanks for the list!
posted by fuzzypantalones at 11:22 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter:There's no need for a taxidermist of whatever moral stripe.

Also, Paddington Bear rocked so hard when I was a kid.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:54 AM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Bears is sixpence extra. Sticky bears is ninepence."

Yes! that was the bit that hooked me as a child -- the idea that bears were always getting covered in marmalade in the back of London taxis, and that the London Taxi Drivers Association had a sliding scale of charges for precisely this situation. Growing up in the weird, work-to-rule world of 1970s Britain, this seemed totally plausible.
posted by verstegan at 7:27 AM on December 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


I dug out my copy of Here Comes Thursday - interesting that it didn't go into storage like so many books. The first chapter, at least, is as lovely as I remember.
posted by Grangousier at 1:15 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


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