With country still in lockdown, keeping kids entertained during this period can be challenging. In fact, it might even have you feeling cranky and cantankerous, much like Mr. Brown (voiced by Darren Boyd) from the beloved Paddington books by Michael Bond.
Thankfully, you don’t need to stress out anymore as a new iteration of the show hits our screens in August to keep the little ones at bay… or at bear.
The Adventures of Paddington follows the beloved Peruvian bear, Paddington, during his earlier years as he makes his way through London while trying not to drive the Brown family completely bonkers. Stock up on the marmalade sandwiches, moms and dads!
If you were a fan of the movies Paddington (2014) and Paddington 2 (2017 – now on Showmax ), you’ll be delighted to know that Ben Whishaw reprises his role as the Marmalade-loving bear. Back in the early days of the first movies production, actor Colin Firth left the movie having felt that his voice didn’t suit the polite bear enough and the role was offered to Ben instead. “I said no the first time. I just thought, ‘I’m not very good at doing voices, I can’t do it and I don’t think I’ll be right for it’,” recalls Ben. Luckily, director Paul King wrote him a sweet note to reconsider and the rest is history.
Rounding out the rest of the cast is an array of veteran actors who help bring life to Paddington’s new adventures. For the role of Mrs. Bird, in steps the incredible Phyllis Logan. Known for her stern and non-nonsense role of Mrs. Hughes in Downton Abbey, the 64 year-old actress has now taken the reins of voicing the Brown family’s housekeeper. “It’s a wonderful thing to be involved with. It’s close to all our hearts,” says Phyllis, who even manages to show off her singing skills in the new theme song of the show.
The theme song, Paddington Bear, was written and composed by Take That star Gary Barlow, who sent a real “take that” to his critics when he boasted on his Instagram page, “Very happy to announce that I’ve written the new theme song for ‘The Adventures of Paddington’!”
From darkest Peru, to you
If you’re not too familiar with the charming, furry bear from Peru, here are a few fun facts that might entice you to settle up next to your kids and enjoy the chaotic fun with them:
- Before Paddington was the loveable duffle coat-wearing bear (and style icon) in the stories and movies we know, he was an actual Teddy Bear that caught the eye of writer Michael Bond. On Christmas Eve in 1956, Michael noticed the bear on a shelf all by itself in a London shop and felt sorry for the little guy and brought him as a gift for his wife. They named him after Paddington Station, which was near where the couple lived.
- Despite everyone knowing him by the name Paddington, the Browns never really wondered about his real name as a native bear from Peru. In the books, he claimed that they wouldn’t be able to pronounce it. Later it’s revealed that Paddington’s actual Peruvian name is “Pastuso” (not to be confused with his uncle Pastuzo) but in the movie the word is pronounced in a series of bear roars, and human attempts at reproducing them just come out sounding rude. Author Michael Bond also wanted to have Paddington originate from Africa, but he changed his mind after finding out there were no indigenous bears on the continent.
- The Browns were so enamoured with Paddington after bringing him home, they all decided that – because he was such a special bear – he should have two birthdays like the Queen of England. Paddington celebrates his birthday at Christmas and then again on the 25th of June.
- Paddington’s hat was given to him, according to Bond, by his Uncle Pastuzo before Paddington left Peru. He often keeps a marmalade sandwich under it for the sake of a civilised snack in case of emergencies. His aunt, Lucy (who raised him after his parents died in an earthquake), gifted him with the ability to speak English by teaching him the language before heading off to a bear retirement home in Lima.
- If you’re wondering about the appeal of a bear in a hat and coat, look no further than the sales of the books. More than 35 million copies have been sold worldwide and the stories have been translated into over more than 40 languages. To commemorate its popularity, a small bronze statue was erected at Paddington Station as well.
Watch The Adventures of Paddington S1 from Monday, 17 August on Nick Jr (DStv 307) at 07:40