From Railway Man To Railway Bear

Chiswick's Colin Firth will be the voice of Paddington Bear in new movie


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He won an Oscar for playing a British monarch with a speech impediment but Colin Firth is turning his vocal talents in a completely new direction.

The Chiswick-based actor will be the voice of the much-loved children's story character Paddington Bear. The cast-list was announced today (Sept 13).

The film will star Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and Sally Hawkins as Mr and Mrs. Brown, who adopt the bear after he is found wandering around the London railway station with a notice around his neck asking to be looked after.

Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent will also star, as will Nicole Kidman who confessed to being a big fan of the Michael Bond books when she was a child. Kidman recently co-starred with Colin Firth in The Railway Man

Colin Firth as Eric Lomax in The Railway Man

The first Paddington Bear story was published in 1958. Author Michael Bond based the character on a teddy bear he bought on Christmas Eve 1956 as a present for his wife. He said the story was inspired by his memories of seeing newsreels of children evacuated from the cities, with identity labels around their necks.

The books were translated in thirty languages and sold over 30 million copies worldwide. A number of television adaptations have been made, including a Paddington Bear animation voiced by Sir Michael Hordern.

The marmalade-sandwich chomping bear and his duffle coat have delighted children for generations and a big party was held in Paddington Railway station in 2008 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first book.

The same year, Paddington Here and Now was published in which the bear ran into difficulties over his immigration status. In the original series, he has been despatched from Peru by his aunt who can no longer look after him.

The film is being produced by Harry Potter veteran David Heyman and directed by Paul King (The Mighty Boosh). It is expected to be released for Christmas 2014.



September 13, 2013