Movie Advent Calendar #06 – Paddington

Mrs Brown says that in London everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in. I think she must be right – because although I don’t look like anyone else, I really do feel at home. I’ll never be like other people, but that’s alright, because I’m a bear. A bear called Paddington.

In 2011 I did a musical advent calendar that I posted to Google+ (remember that) and a final summary on this blog. In 2012 I did a cinematic advent calendar of twenty four films. These were films that I really liked and have enjoyed at the cinema. In 2019 I did a televisual advent calendar of twenty four television programmes. These were television programmes that I really liked and have enjoyed watching. This year on a similar theme I will be posting a movie advent calendar of twenty four movies.

I loved the Paddington Bear books and the BBC animated television series based on the books by Michael Bond. That series was broadcast from 1976 to 1980, scripted by Bond himself, and produced by FilmFair. It was narrated by Michael Hordern, who also voiced all of the characters.

So when the Paddington film was announced and released in 2014, I was hesitant and a little sceptical. I was pretty confident that it wouldn’t be as good as the TV series from the 1970s. Well to be perfectly honest I don’t think the film is as good as the series. However, despite that, I really enjoyed the film. I thought all the cast did an excellent job. Ben Whishaw’s characterisation of Paddington was spot on, as Paddington was a young bear, and I can see how the original casting of Colin Firth was probably inspired by the BBC series narration, but didn’t work, as Paddington was a single character, whereas Hordern did all the voices in the BBC series.

The story was certainly cinematic and I think that is why the film worked for me. This wasn’t a TV programme on the big screen, this was a big screen adaptation for the character. The set pieces, from the flooded bathroom, the Geographers’ Guild were fun.

There is one scene which does amuse me, and that is when the Brown family find Paddington at Paddington Station. The scenes set on the platform reflect the reality of Paddington Station. Then they go to the station tea room. Yes you might have seen such a station in the 1950s, but not in 2014, when there was a Caffe Nero and a Costa at the station. I kind of wish there was such a tea room at the station now!

I have to say I also enjoyed the sequel, Paddington 2. Hugh Grant was excellent. I even enjoyed the skitch to celebrate the Jubilee in 2022. I also see that a sequel Paddington in Peru is set to begin principal photography in 2023.

Paddington has changed

Well, Paddington has changed on the tube map with the changes to the Elizabeth Line services now going straight through, not stopping at Paddington which they did until this month.

Before the Paddington name was on the Bakerloo line.

With the changes to the tube network over time, the map is getting constantly updated and changed.


A bright sunny day in London


It was sunny, I had a little more time until the train, so I decided to walk from Whitehall to Paddington.

Usually I am rushing so catch the underground, so it was nice to have an extra 30 minutes, so I could walk from the conference venue in Whitehall to Paddington station.

It was cold, but the sun was out and walking in the sun was very pleasant.

Some of the buildings are incredible on Whitehall, but then again it was once a Palace.


I left 61 Whitehall and crossed the road to Horse Guards Parade. Outside Horse Guards were two horse mounted guards getting harassed by tourists who were taking selfies of themselves with the horses in the background.


To think it wasn’t that long ago the tourists would merely take photographs of the guards or would stand next to them as a relative took the photo. The selfie phenomena has changed all that as everyone holds their phone at arm’s length and attempts to get themselves and their family and the horse into the photo. It’s difficult, but much much easier than trying to do that with a 35mm film camera which had no screen to preview the image!

Horse Guards

I have walked through Horse Guards a few times and though I am sure I noticed the Turkish Gun before, this was the first time I went up close to get a picture.

Turkish Gun

The gun was made by Murad, son of Abdullah in 1524. It was captured in Egypt by the British Army in 1801. Now it sits outside Horse Guards the home of the British Army.

Horse Guards

Next to Horse Guards is a huge incongruous building that can only be described as a bunker. Compared to the Georgian magnificence of Whitehall this bunker is a very crude and brutal.

Admiralty Citadel

Looking up online on the train I found out this was the Admiralty Citadel. It is London’s most visible military citadel, and is located just behind the Admiralty building on Horse Guards Parade. It was constructed in 1940–1941 as a bomb-proof operations centre for the Admiralty. Winston Churchill called it in his memoirs as a “vast monstrosity which weighs upon the Horse Guards Parade”.

Admiralty Citadel

What is interesting that it was built with the plan that in the event of a successful German invasion, it was intended that the building would become a fortress, with loopholed firing positions provided to fend off attackers.

Admiralty Citadel

I did think about walking through St James’ Park, but in the end walked down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace.

Passing by Clarence House there were two guardsmen, who appeared to be playing a marching up and down the road game, not sure what they were trying to do, but no one was watching except me and a couple of Americans. Maybe they were stretching their legs after standing for too long in their sentry boxes.

I was then in front of Buckingham Palace. I was reminded by how effective the CGI was in the Netflix series The Crown. Their recreation of the 1950s Buckingham Palace is very accurate. It was only after watching this video that I realised how much the series was using computer graphics to recreate 1950s London and other locations.

After passing by the palace I entered Green Park and walked up to Hyde Park Corner. Now I have to admit I did think about catching the tube for the final stretch, but no decided to walk through Hyde Park.

I realised I had never seen the Serpentine before, now I have.

It was a really nice walk.