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Saturday, April 4, 1998 Published at 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK


Life begins with marmalade
image: [ Paddington arrived at the station which bears his name 40 years ago ]
Paddington arrived at the station which bears his name 40 years ago

It will be one birthday party where the toast will be with marmalade rather than champagne, because Paddington Bear is 40.

It was April 1958 when Mr and Mrs Brown met a small and bewildered bear on Paddington Station, wearing a small sign saying "please look after this bear." They did, taking him home to live with them in Notting Hill.

[ image: He had come all the way from Darkest Peru]
He had come all the way from Darkest Peru
Paddington had travelled all the way from Darkest Peru leaving behind his Aunt Lucy, but he soon settled into British life, and his memoirs celebrating his adventures, his love of marmalade and his dislike of Mr Curry became an instant success.

Paddington's creator Michael Bond (Dur 1'19)
Paddington has sold more than 30 million books in 18 different languages (though he did have to get his friend Michael Bond to help him write the books.) He has been the hero of 14 novels and numerous short stories.

[ image: He has even read the news on the BBC]
He has even read the news on the BBC
On Saturday his friends and family, especially Mr Gruber, are gathering at the London Toy and Model Museum to celebrate his 40th birthday.

Michael Bond says Paddington does not want to make too much of a fuss of his big day. "Maybe he'll have a a glass of champagne tonight," he said. "I don't think he's into numbers, I don't thing he sees any magic in a 40, a 50 or a 60, because being a bear means he thinks one year is like another."

Paddington's 'friend' Karen Jankel "when I learned to ride, Paddington learned to ride (Dur 0'42")
Paddington fans who have not been invited to the party need not worry, because a special exhibition all about their hero will go on for six months.

Like many other people Paddington is discovering that life begins at 40, and he may need extra portions of marmalade to help him cope with his busy year.

Karen Jankel, Michael Bond's daughter, "My parents have joint custody of Paddington" (Dur 0'35")
He is having a special 40th anniversary edition of his memoirs published, and is also starring in his own new TV shows.

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