Paddington ready to mark 60 with wealth of activity

New content, live experiences and merchandising all being planned for milestone.

A raft of new content development, live experiences and merchandise is set to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the publication of the first Paddington book – A Bear Called Paddington.

The Copyrights Group and Vivendi will be marking the milestone with worldwide commemorative partnerships, limited edition and collectable products, new and refreshed classic lines, new publishing, special retail activities, anniversary windows, special events, exhibitions and even an ice show will also celebrate Paddington’s history and heritage globally.

The celebrations kick started in January with Great Western Railway naming its new Intercity Express train after Paddington Bear author Michael Bond.

In February the first of the exhibitions celebrating the anniversary launched in Japan, hosting over 300 pieces of original Paddington artwork. The Eric Carle Museum in Massachusetts, US is also celebrating the anniversary with a special exhibition running from April to October this year.

New live events will also launch internationally. In spring, Europa-Park launched the first ever Paddington ice show in Germany – Paddington’s Marmalade Mission.

In October, Studiocanal – part of the Vivendi group and the producer of Paddington and Paddington 2 – will launch Paddington’s first Cine-Concert in London featuring the first film, accompanied by a live orchestra.

A UK tour launches in April 2019, with 12 confirmed performances to date with international territories also rolled out for 2019. Also in October and December, Paddington classic concerts will take place, supported with a story narration.

Paddington has also been chosen by UNICEF to become its champion for children’s rights around the world and will support a series of campaigns in 2018. The character has also popped up in Germany’s Europa-Park this year where there is a special Paddington Bear area, dedicated shop and VR ride.

Meanwhile, the publishing home of Paddington – HarperCollins Children’s Books, which published the first book in 1958 – has created a range of anniversary publishing and a programme of book-related events.

The publishing launches with Paddington at St Paul’s, the final work of Michael Bond. A new edition of the first picture book Paddington will be issued, followed in the autumn with a lavish new hardback edition of the original A Bear Called Paddington story, illustrated in full-colour by Peggy Fortnum.

“We are well under way to becoming one of the major brands in entertainment engaging fans of all ages thanks to our long-term content development and our great partnerships,” said Sophie Kopaczynski, svp of franchise management at Vivendi. “Vivendi’s various media platforms provide an opportunity for every member of the family to get to know Paddington in their own way.

“Over the years Paddington has been seen and loved in many different guises. With an upcoming TV show and exciting new events to come, 2018 is set to be another strong year for Paddington. Hold onto your hats as this year will take you through the past and look forward to the future.”

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