This calls for a round of marmalade sandwiches… Paddington Bear has been voted Britain’s best animated character of all time.
Michael Bond’s duffle coat-clad creation had the honour bestowed upon him (not personally) at last night’s British Animation Awards in London. Paddington fought off stiff competition from a number of well-loved family favourites on the shortlist, including Wallace & Gromit, Superted and Aleksandr Meerkat, to take the accolade.
Paddington first appeared in a series of children’s books in 1958. In the opening story, the bear is found by the Brown family at Paddington Station in London with a note attached to his coat reading “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” His curious Peruvian back story and gentle bumbling nature made him an instant literary hit across the world, with his adventures being translated into more than 35 languages and selling in excess of 30 million copies.
However, it is as an animated character that Paddington is best remembered by many British television viewers. In 1975, the BBC began screening Paddington as a stop-motion animation. The programme, which saw its star as a three-dimensional puppet against two-dimensional backgrounds, was narrated by Michael Hordern and animated by Ivor Wood, who also worked on The Magic Roundabout and Postman Pat.
The series ran for 56 five-minute episodes and three specials between 1975 and 1987 on the BBC, becoming a mainstay of its children’s programme schedules. It also broadcast on a number of American channels and has been adapted into a US two-dimensional cartoon.
Paddington has been licensed hundreds of times for use on promotional products, making him one of the world’s best-known bears.
Here he is flogging Marmite in 2007 – animation fans, you’ll either love or hate this clip: