I received some awful news the other day. I was sitting on the bus, when my phone vibrated, it was one of those pesky notifications from BBC News, really must remember to turn those off. Yet the headline caught my eye before I could swipe it away. The news was that Michael Bond, author of the Paddington Bear books, had died aged 91.
I’ve had a long relationship with the character of Paddington Bear. I had a few of the books when I was a child, and a few more of the audiobooks (narrated by Stephen Fry, whose voice I recognised from his readings of Harry Potter). And I’m still sure that if one rummages far enough into my nan’s cupboards, they’ll find a dusty video tape with some Paddington Bear TV episodes on it.
In 2011, David Heyman announced his plans to make a film based on the character, news which sent my interest in the character to obsessive levels. The film was released in 2014 and a sequel will be out soon. Needless to say, I have high hopes!
So when the news came that the man behind so much childhood [and adolescent] joy, had died, it cast a miserable shadow over the rest of my day. And only half a year after Watership Down author Richard Adams passed away, life has not been good in the literary world.
I count myself lucky to have grown up with the character of Paddington Bear. And thanks to the increased national interest in the character thanks to the recent film, I’m sure yet another new generation of children will be counting themselves lucky too. And Michael Bond will live on through his most famous creation.