You wouldn't think to fall in love with a bear, but when it comes to Paddington Bear, you just can't stop yourself from loving the magnificent bear so much. Paddington, who is from Darkest Peru, was created by the wonderful author Michael Bond. The first Paddington book, A Bear Called Paddington, was first published back in 1958 and is still a big hit today.
The marmalade loving bear has had many adventures since 1958 and are all a wonderful read. Bond was inspired to create the iconic character by life before and during the Second World War. The idea of the cuddly bear was sparked when Bond watched newsreels of children being evacuated in the war. Bond said:
"When I was small, I had memories of children being evacuated from London with a label around their necks and all their possessions in a suitcase, and this became part of Paddington as well. Paddington Bear was a refugee with a label - 'Please look after this bear. Thank you', and he had a little suitcase."
The idea of a bear was decided on when Bond saw a teddy bear left on a shelf in a London shop and he felt sorry for it on Christmas Eve 1956, and took it home as a present for his wife Brenda. The success of the first book pleased Bond, which then lead to many other books selling over 35 million copies globally, as well as two films (Paddington, 2014 and Paddington 2, 2017). On the 28th June 2017 news hit the world that the legendary author had tragically passed away due to a short illness.
Following his death, a memorial service was held at St. Paul's Cathedral where it was revealed one final Paddington story will be published in June 2018. The story titled Paddington at St Paul's will see Paddington getting into trouble (like always) as he is mistaken for a choirboy when he goes for a tour around the cathedral. The idea for this story came together when Bond attended the Queen's 90th Birthday celebrations in 2016, the same year he celebrated his 90th Birthday, too.
On announcing the final Paddington adventure, his daughter, Karen Jankel, at the memorial said:
"If the outpouring of wonderful messages of condolence we received from my father's fans is anything to go by, there will be many people who will be delighted to learn there is another Paddington book to look forward to. Our family feel immensely proud that we will be honouring his life at St Paul's Cathedral and the fact that this is the setting for his final story makes it very special indeed."
Ann-Janine Murtagh, the Executive Producer at HarperCollins Children's Books confirmed this news by saying:
"We are deeply honoured to be publishing the final Paddington story from our most cherished author, Michael Bond. Paddington At St Paul's is Michael's parting gift to all his fans—a simply classic Paddington story, brimming with curiosity, charm and affectionate exuberance."
Paddington At St. Paul's has been referred to as "a parting gift to all his fans - a simply classic Paddington story, brimming with curiosity, charm and affectionate exuberance.“ There's currently no release date for the final book. However, it is suspected that the final chapter to the collection of book will be released on the first anniversary of the author's death, along with the 60th anniversary of the first instalment of the books.
The sequel, Paddington 2, is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, which is just as lovable as the books. Sadly, Bond didn't get to see this film like he did the first, but the film has been dedicated to him with a message at the end of the film say "For our friend Michael Bond."