THE ADVENTURES OF PADDINGTON VOL. 1 (PADDINGTON FINDS A PIGEON & OTHER EPISODES) / CERT: U / SCREENPLAY: MICHAEL BOND, JON FOSTER, JAMES LAMONT / STARRING: BEN WHISHAW, MORWENNA BANKS, BOBBY BEYNON, NOEL CLARKE / RELEASE DATE: MAY 18TH
It’s pretty much common knowledge at this point that Paddington Bear is a national treasure and a very rare sort of bear. He has been loved and adored since his creation by Michael Bond in 1958, and has since gone on to have a new life on TV, most notably the iconic BBC Paddington series with Michael Hordern. Ever since then, the bear from Darkest Peru hasn’t had success as big as that until the two critically-acclaimed films in 2014 and 2017. Those two films reintroduced Paddington to a whole new audience, so now was the perfect time for a new TV show, this time spun-off from those films and bringing back Ben Wishaw to reprise his role as the titular bear.
This new show follows the formula of having ten-minute short episodes, all revolving around writing letters to his Aunt Lucy. This celebrates all the new things he’s learnt and discovered throughout the day, including making pancakes, learning magic tricks, finding a hobby or making a new friend in Pigeonton. All of these episodes are basically ‘a day in the life of Paddington’, and frankly, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s a charming, lovely little show that appeals to all ages, not just children, and perfectly captures the pure essence of Paddington, nailing the lightness, the morals and the core understanding of Paddington Bear and his world. You can watch this, and you’d feel like you’ve taken and learnt something from it, so at no point does the show feel like it’s about nothing.
What’s also impressive is the animation; despite being CGI, it looks and feels like a stop-motion animation in the vein of LAIKA’s iconic animations like The Boxtrolls or Missing Link. Even the human characters look as though they’ve stepped out of a LAIKA-produced film. This demonstrates that CGI animation can work and be effective just as long as you do it right and make it appealing to audiences without alienating them with generic-looking graphics. The voice acting is solid across the board with Wishaw especially still nailing the warmth and pure likeability of Paddington Bear. Also, the new theme song by Gary Barlow is annoyingly catchy!
Overall, The Adventures of Paddington is a lovely little show that you can just watch on TV with the whole family for a nice, warm, and comforting afternoon. It has a solid voice cast, charming little stories and great animation, making this recommended viewing for any Paddington fan.