Saturday, December 08, 2007

NEWS Paddington Bear arrested by police and interrogated over his immigration status


Police set to quiz Paddington Bear

Press Association
Saturday December 8, 2007 11:08 AM

Paddington Bear will be arrested by police and interrogated over his immigration status in a book marking his 50th birthday, it has emerged.

The novel, to be published next June on the anniversary of his debut in A Bear Called Paddington, will see the stowaway from Peru interviewed about his right to remain in England.

The appeal of Michael Bond's Paddington books, which have sold more than 30 million copies and been translated into 30 languages, remains undiminished after half a century.

But Mr Bond, 83, was said to be reluctant at the prospect of writing his first novel about him for 29 years - unless he had a strong contemporary storyline.

The new book is again set around their home at 32 Windsor Gardens, Notting Hill, and revisits the stalls in Portobello Road where Paddington shared cocoa and buns with another immigrant, Mr Gruber, the Hungarian antiques dealer.

After being arrested, Paddington has no papers proving his identity because his Aunt Lucy had arranged for him to hide on a ship's lifeboat from Peru after she went to live in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima.

Mr Bond was working as a BBC cameraman when a bear he bought in Selfridges for his wife on Christmas Eve inspired him to write the original novel, in which the Brown family adopt the homeless bear when they spot him amid a pile of mailbags at Paddington station.

Mr Bond has continued to write occasional short stories about his best-loved creation since the publication of Paddington Takes the Test, the last novel, in 1979.

He told theBookseller.com: "One of the very nice things about chronicling Paddington's adventures is that although the world has changed considerably over the past 30 years, he remains exactly the same; eternally optimistic and ever open to what life has to offer. It makes writing the stories a pleasure."

Paddington Here and Now will have a cover illustration by Peggy Fortnum, 85, who did the first drawings of Paddington. The 50th anniversary will also be marked by reissues of the novels and picture books and a new title, My Book of Marmalade.

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