Swapping deepest, darkest Peru for the equally bleak British winter, Paddington Bear arrives in London today to celebrate the release of his first ever feature film.
Until December 30 you can catch Paddington in the form of 50 statues to be placed at various tourist hotspots in the capital including Fulham and of course, Paddington station.
— First Great Western (@FGW) November 4, 2014
Organisers Visit London, in partnership with the NSPCC, have created a route that covers from as far West as Heathrow to the O2 in the East and includes some of London’s key cultural landmarks such as The Royal Opera House, Museum of London and Horse Guards Parade.
Speaking about the trail, NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless, said: “It’s going to be wonderful to see two iconic British institutions – Paddington Bear and the NSPCC – coming together against the backdrop of this wonderful city, to raise vital funds for vulnerable children and their families.
“Paddington was fortunate enough to be found by Mr and Mrs Brown who gave him love and a safe space to grow up – something that every young person deserves.”
And at 56-years-old, it seems Paddington has given his traditional blue duffle coat, brown suitcase and wellies the boot in favour of some celebrity-styling for his London adventure.
A whole host of stars including David Beckham and Emma Watson have created exclusive designs for the statues which are to be auctioned by Christies to raise money for the NSPCC following the end of the trail on December 30.
— Sandie Dawe (@SandieDawe) November 3, 2014
Designs range from Frankie Bridge’s ‘Paddington Sparkles’ to Michael Sheen’s ‘Shakesbear’ and Hugh Bonneville’s ‘ode to Paddington’s favourite preserve’.
Hugh Bonneville stars in the Paddington film, along with Hollywood hotshots Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Peter Capaldi with Ben Whishaw as the voice of the eponymous bear.
Talking about his involvement in the trail, Mr. Sheen said: “It is such a privilege to be designing a statue for The Paddington Trail, especially as it is raising money for the NSPCC – a charity I’m proud to support.
“I am delighted to have been able to create Shakesbear and combine my love of the bear with my passion for the bard!”
A little bit of sunny South America will join the Paddington parade with three Peru-themed bears designed to celebrate the history, nature, art and food of Paddington’s deepest, darkest homeland.
Jaime Cárdenas, Counsellor for Economic and Commercial Affairs at the Peruvian Embassy, said: “Peru is a country of mystery and myth set against a vibrant culture and colourful landscapes, so we’re delighted Paddington is staying connected to his roots and showcasing his Peruvian heritage to the people of London.”
Aside from the statues, a real buzz has been created by the beloved bear and various big name brands have given their products a Paddington-inspired-update in support of the film’s arrival.
The trail’s retail partner, Selfridges, is currently showcasing a golden version of the bear in its infamous window display and will be selling a variety of exclusive miniature bears from its Paddington Curiosity Shop in aid of the NSPCC and Childline.
— Paddington (@paddingtonbear) October 23, 2014
Warburtons if offering a child’s Cineworld cinema ticket to see the Paddington movie with any two packs of Warbeartons Half & Half range purchased.
Paddington hits UK cinemas on November 28 and will be the bear’s first appearance on the big screen since his animated TV series began in 1975.
The Paddington books have sold more than 35 million copies around the world and have been translated into more than 40 languages.