Paddington is a TV series of 5 minute shorts that ran from 1975 to 1986. The unique visual style (Paddington himself is a stuffed bear filmed in stop-motion, the backgrounds are black-and-white line drawings and the other characters are 2D paper cutouts) and catchy theme tune led to it becoming a well-loved childhood favourite.
It is based on the Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond, about the antics of a small anthropomorphic brown bear who lives with an ordinary London family. Paddington is usually seen wearing a blue duffel coat (a somewhat old-fashioned warm coat fastened by toggles) and rather shapeless black hat.
The series is narrated, including all the character voices, by Sir Michael Hordern.
There have been three other Animated Series based off Paddington since, first by Hanna-Barbera in 1989, The New Adventures of Paddington Bear by Cinar in the late 90s, and The Adventures of Paddington in 2020.
A Paddington live-action movie was released at the end of 2014, with Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington. A 3-Disc DVD Collector's Edition of the whole series was also released by Mill Creek Entertainment.
This series contains examples of:
- Accidental Bid: Paddington Bear once went to an auction. He found it a very friendly place. People kept on waving at him, so naturally he waved back...
- Ambiguous Syntax: In the episode where Paddington helps Mr. Curry with his plumbing, they hit a problem with a stuck valve. Mr. Curry has the solution: "Take hold of the mallet, and when I nod my head, you hit it."
- And I'm the Queen of Sheba: In the episode where Paddington visits a waxwork museum, he poses in one of the displays to hide from an irate attendant, resulting in a woman remarking that if that's an accurate depiction of Oliver Cromwell joining the Ironsides, she's the Queen of Sheba.
- Bears Are Bad News: Averted, yet also played straight in a mild way. Paddington is courteous, completely non-violent, and freaking adorable, yet has quite a knack for getting into all sorts of trouble, whether it's accidentally destroying his neighbor's hammock, letting a marmalade sandwich slip inside a film projector, or trashing the kitchen with one of his sloppy baking attempts.
- Beary Friendly: Paddington is a kind, polite, gentle and curious bear cub.
- Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: Paddington enters a golfing competition where each player gets one drive and the winner will be the player whose ball travels farthest before coming to rest. Paddington's ball lands on a passing train, and doesn't come to rest until the train stops several miles away; the judge, who has taken a liking to Paddington, declares that this fits the letter of the rule and awards him first prize.
- Bland-Name Product: Floyds Bank, in the episode in which Mrs Bird opens a bank account for Paddington. Also Barkriges (a compound of Barker's of Kensington and Selfriges) where he is taken to buy clothes.
- Camera Obscurer: When Paddington tries to take a photograph of the Brown family, he is suddenly attacked at the crucial moment by a bee he'd annoyed earlier while trying to take a photograph of it. To everyone's surprise, the result is a perfectly composed and focussed picture — of the bee.
- Canon Foreigner: The 1989 cartoon added the Brown Family's American cousin David Russell.
- Catch Phrase: Mr. Curry's arrival is often heralded by a bellow of "Bear! What are you doing, Bear?" He also has "Where are you, Bear?" and "How dare you, Bear!"
- Cool Old Guy: Mr. Gruber
- Cranky Neighbor: Mr. Curry
- Dastardly Whiplash: The on-stage villain in the show Paddington goes to see at the theatre. It's an old-fashioned melodrama of the type where the heroine spends half the time Chained to a Railway and the other half on a Conveyor Belt o' Doom.
- Disapproving Look: Paddington's "hard stare"
- The Ditz: Guess who?
- Doom It Yourself:
- In an early episode, Mr. Brown starts renovating a storeroom to be a bedroom for Paddington. It actually goes quite well until Paddington tries to help, after which it quickly becomes a disaster.
- In another episode, Paddington attempts to build a magazine rack from the instructions in a do-it-yourself magazine. The rack itself is actually a success — his attempts to repair the kitchen table after he accidentally cuts it in half while using it as a work bench, on the other hand...
- When the plumber refuses to fix Mr. Curry's bathroom pipes because Mr. Curry still hasn't paid him for last time, Paddington has a go; the result is so bad that Mr. Curry's insurance company pays to have the bathroom completely refurbished.
- Doorstop Baby: The Browns found him sitting on the platform of Paddington Station, near the lost property office, with a label round his neck bearing the words "Please Look After This Bear. Thank You."
- Face Fault: The "flip-take" variant is Paddington's standard reaction to receiving a large shock (often in the nature of realising he's done something he's about to get in big trouble for).
- Fish out of Water: One of the main sources of humor and plot. Paddington emigrated from Darkest Peru and thus is very unfamiliar with British life.
- Fortune Teller: In the episode where Paddington visits a funfair, he encounters a fortune teller called Madame Zaza who ticks all the boxes: old gypsy woman who intones "Cross my palm with silver", attempts to read his future in his palmsnote and then in a Crystal Ball.
- French Cuisine Is Haughty:
- Invoked in the episode where Paddington is mistaken for a food critic; the waiter at the restaurant is audibly an Englishman attempting to sound French.
- In the episode where the Browns take Paddington to a posh restaurant to celebrate the anniversary of his arrival, the restaurant has a menu in French (though the chef, oddly enough, sounds Italian — probably because it's one person doing all the voices and he only had one French accent).
- Game Show Appearance:
- Paddington appears on a quiz show called Lucky For Some. He wins (by giving outside-the-box answers that, although different from the ones on the card, are technically correct), but the status quo is preserved when he decides to donate the winnings to the retirement home in Peru where his Aunt Lucy lives.
- In another episode, Paddington appears on a quiz show called Sage of Britain (a parody of Mastermind), by mistake: he'd only intended to be in the audience, but he got lost and ended up in the contestants' waiting area. His special subject is, of course, marmalade sandwiches.
- Grumpy Bear: Mr. Curry.
- Grumpy Old Man: Again, Mr. Curry.
- Hollywood Psych: Paddington announces he needs his head examined, and is sent to a psychiatrist who sticks him on a Freudian Couch and administers a Word Association Test, before giving up in despair when Paddington associates with everything he says, including his attempts to announce that the test is over. (And all Paddington wanted was somebody to help him get his hat off.)
- Hypocritical Humor: In a 1990 episode, Paddington comes to the Royal Geographical Society for an expedition, and then a blind old man appears and greets him. Before the protagnist could introduce himself, the man interrupts and says "Of course you are! Got eyes, haven't I?"
- Last-Name Basis: Mr. Gruber always addresses Paddington as "Mr. Brown".
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
- Literal-Minded: Paddington has his moments.
- When a department store manager announces that a previously-unpopular item has been selling like hot cakes since Paddington was seen using it, Paddington, feeling hungry, considers asking if he can have one of the hot cakes.
- Loophole Abuse: When Paddington gets into trouble during his first trip on the Underground, Judy rescues him by successfully arguing that the Underground's rules specifying how a person must behave don't apply to Paddington, because he isn't a person, he's a bear.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Paddington is the king of children's compilations! First he appeared in Goes to School in Children's Picture House in 1990, then Please Look After this Bear in NSPCC Children's TV Favourites Volume 1, also in 1990, Cleans Up in NSPCC Children's TV Favourites Volume 2 in 1993, Does it Himself in My Best Friends, also in 1993, and Goes Underground in Calling all Toddlers in 1999.
- Medium Blending: Paddington is a stop-motion puppet, all the backgrounds are 2D black-and-white line drawings, and all the other characters are coloured paper dolls.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Paddington is a bear from Peru, but looks like a a brown bear from the Northern Hemisphere.
- Mistaken for Special Guest: Paddington goes to visit a newly-opened restaurant and makes a comment that leads the staff to believe he is a famous food critic, resulting in him being offered a meal on the house. When the truth is realised, the restaurant owner waives the bill anyway, because the spectacle of an adorably cute bear such as Paddington enjoying his meal has created so much walk-in custom.
- Nice Hat
- Nobody Here but Us Statues: When Paddington visits a waxwork museum, he inadvertantly offends an attendant and hides by pretending to be one of the waxworks.
- Offscreen Crash: Paddington's attempt to take a photograph of a bee results in him weaving erratically about, and ultimately in an offscreen crash that causes the entire screen to shake.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Paddington looks nothing less than the cutest bear cub you'll ever see in stop-motion animation.
- Spoofing in the Rain: At the end of the 1980 special Paddington Goes to the Movies.
- Time Capsule: One episode begins with Paddington seeing some men bury a mysterious box, which turns out to be a time capsule. He's invited to add an item to the capsule himself, and considers adding one of his marmalade sandwiches.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Marmalade.
- Weirdness Censor: Everyone in London seems surprisingly cool that the Browns have adopted a bear. That talks.Taxi Driver: Bears is sixpence extra. Sticky bears is ninepence.
- Work Off the Debt: In the episode where Paddington is mistaken for a food critic, one of the Browns worries that when the restaurant finds out Paddington will have to wash dishes to pay for his meal.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Paddington attempts to make "Olde Fashioned Butter Toffee" from a recipe in one of Mrs. Brown's magazines. The e in "Olde" is clearly audible in the narration.
- You Just Ruined the Shot: A variation in the episode where Paddington goes to the theatre. He doesn't interrupt the show, for once having enough self-control to wait and see how it turns out, but as soon as it's over he heads backstage to give the unrepentant villain a piece of his mind. The actor takes it well; an aging thespian who's widely regarded to be losing his touch, he's relieved and flattered that at least one person found his performance convincing.