Wednesday, December 13The Voice of London

What would it be like if Paddington Bear came to London now?

Words: Kiera Chapman | Subbing: Bernadette Galbraith

Imagine filling up your dog’s food bowl and hearing a bark from behind. Your adorable wet, wagging creature huffs, “Not the bloody turkey again. I’m feeling ice cream. I SAW that Asda delivery. I will be climbing the walls if I do not get my Walls.”

If animals could talk, I imagine this to be one of the many sentences they would say.

The world has a habit of salvaging comfort in talking animals. From Garfield to Donkey – from lasagne to making waffles – something is reassuring in the scrambled movements of furry lips, despite the fact they shouldn’t be moving at all.

Paddington climbed out of Michael Bond’s novels and graced our screens for the first time in 2014 – yanking toothbrushes from ears and scrambling about the National History Museum on all two’s, away from a taxidermist’s daughter, played by Nicole Kidman. After quite a full on first escapade, he’s back on November 10th, for the second installation of the magnificent franchise.

However, it’s vital that someone informs Paddington promptly that things have changed in London. A dark cloud looms over the city, and while it’s not as dark as Darkest Peru, it gives 90% cocoa solids a run for their money.

 Caught in customs

Paddington can’t be too careless with his immortal marmalade sandwich nesting under his hat anymore. Since 2014, security has shot up, and the Met police have upped their game. He would most likely be searched at customs, and have his substantial snack considered as an unidentifiable object (marmalade isn’t even a meal deal option) and destroyed.

 Ho Ho How early?

If Paddington were to step out of Oxford Circus today, he would be graced by hundreds of high-flying balls that would pose a major health risk if he were ever to decide to fly through the air, hooked to the back of a double-decker with an umbrella again. Reckless behaviour, like Christmas, cabbage and relationships, is seasonal.

Christmas blossoms in the firmly bolted windows of Harrods around October and lasts firmly until January. The poor bear would be bombarded with 3 for 2’s at Boots when seeking a pair of shoes, as well as the odd mulled wine pop-up, or million, along the Southbank.

Something strange…

Since Paddington first came to the UK, there have been some extraterrestrial happenings, sweeping their way throughout the city streets. Crossrail has been expanding, Pret opened exclusively veggie stores, and Vans have become unable to be worn without a pair of dirt-tinted Calvin Klein socks peeking out. Yet, the most peculiar of all would appear to be a sudden awareness of the Other Side; an epidemic is spreading. Symptoms include perms, spontaneous renditions of Toto’s Africa, casually carrying a metallic toothed-club and long periods of binge-watching something called Stranger Things. Unfortunately, Paddington can no longer be considered ‘strange’.

Who let Hugh out?

Every movie needs a bad guy or gal. Enter: Hugh Grant. The perfect, detestable character. While the first Paddington had Kidman, the second goes that one step further in casting The Grant to perform the unimaginable task of wanting to get rid of a talking bear.

Paddington 2 acts as a friendly reminder that The Grant is not confined to the multicoloured streets of Notting Hill – until you realise that the Brown family, whom he lives with, are located not far from Portobello.

Paddington 2 is in cinemas 10th November.

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