Today VisitLondon.com, the NSPCC and STUDIOCANAL announced the first of the exciting internationally renowned celebrities, designers and artists signed up to THE PADDINGTON TRAIL. The list includes stars of the Paddington film Hugh Bonneville, Peter Capaldi Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters and Ben Whishaw, Hollywood actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Sheen and Emma Watson, director Guy Ritchie, stars of the music world Nick Mason and Frankie Bridge, globally renowned photographer Rankin, leading fashion designers Christopher Kane, Lulu Guinness and Matthew Williamson, painter and street artist Inkie, multi-talented artists Tom Phillips and Hannah Warren and world-famous ex-footballer and underwear designer, David Beckham.
Actor Hugh Bonneville, who stars in the forthcoming Paddington film, which opens in Canadian Cinemas January 16 2015, is amongst the designers and comments: “Paddington is an explorer - this trail is a wonderful way of bringing this to life and I hope it makes people look at London with fresh eyes. I am delighted to have been asked to design one of the bears and have created an ode to Paddington’s favourite preserve. I can’t wait for people to see it.”
The star-studded Paddington design team also includes former Royal Ballet principal dancer Darcey Bussell, presenters Davina McCall, Ant McPartlin & Declan Donnelly and Jonathan Ross, explorer and survival expert Bear Grylls, the Chelsea football team, the England rugby union team and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
The first of the designs were also revealed today: ‘Paddington Bear’ by Michael Bond, ‘Paddington Shakesbear’ by Michael Sheen, ‘Paddington Sparkles’ by Frankie Bridge and ‘Paddingtonscape’ by artist, Hannah Warren.
Michael Sheen who designed ‘Shakesbear Paddington’ says: “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!”
These adventurous designers are working on some of the 50 Paddington Bear statues, which will be placed across the capital ahead of the highly anticipated release of PADDINGTON in UK cinemas on November 28 2014. This exciting and inspiring trail will take in museums, parks, shops and landmarks, all with a colourful, Paddington inspired flavour. London is Paddington’s favourite city: full of adventure and opportunities to explore the wonderful art, culture, innovation and entertainment that are so prominent in the capital.
Visitors will be able to follow in the furry footsteps of the world’s favourite Peruvian explorer visiting locations across the capital from as far west as Heathrow through to the O2 in the east, taking in some of London’s key cultural and landmark hotspots such as The Royal Opera House, Museum of London, Horse Guards Parade, the Museum of Childhood and, of course, Paddington Station with the trail ending in Selfridges, from November 4 – December 30 2014.
VisitLondon.com has also launched a dedicated section of their website which will enable visitors to London to find out more about the trail and, later in the month, download the trail map, share their pictures and discover the stories behind each statue and location. VisitLondon.com/Paddington.
Paddington’s origins date back almost sixty years to when his creator, Michael Bond, bought a small bear from Selfridges on Christmas Eve 1956, as a present for his wife, and named him after the nearest railway station to which they lived.
Selfridges is the Trail’s retail partner and will be selling a selection of statue miniatures from a dedicated Paddington concept store showcasing a variety of Paddington related products and artifacts. The Paddington Curiosity Shop will be created especially to celebrate the historic link between the store and the famous bear as well as raising funds for the NSPCC.
In Michael Bond’s original tales, the young bear finds himself alone in a big and unfamiliar city. Taken in by the Brown family, he finds a warm welcome and a safe place to stay and sets out to discover more about his adopted city.
London based design company 3DEye is helping to create the three foot six inch tall statues, all of which will be auctioned later in the year to raise money for charity partners* including the NSPCC; a charity whose work is all about protecting vulnerable children and making them safe through its services including ChildLine.
Due for release in Canada on January 16 2015, the big screen debut of PADDINGTON will showcase many of the trail locations in the capital, including his first port of entry – Paddington station. The film from STUDIOCANAL and Heyday Films is written and directed by Paul King (Bunny and the Bull, The Mighty Boosh) produced by David Heyman (Gravity, Harry Potter) and boasts an all-star cast including Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent and Nicole Kidman with Ben Whishaw as the voice of PADDINGTON.
To find out more about The Paddington Trail, go to www.visitlondon.com/paddington
London & Partners contact details:
Rebekah Clement, Media & PR Manager – Leisure Tourism
Tel: +44 (0)20 7234 5861 / +44 (0) 7826 907 415
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com