Friday, 30 April 2010

Top 5 Fictional Bears

Not quite sure where this topic came from other than an ongoing need to wallow in childhood nostalgia and a desire to talk about Paddington. Lots of bears that didn't make the cut, including Biffo from The Beano (who frankly scared me), Sooty from "The Sooty & Sweep Show" (who was never as cool as his co-star) and George the Hofmeister bear (who was unfortunate with his product choice). I also considered the Hair Bear Bunch (Hair Bear, Bubi Bear & Square Bear) but it didn't seem fair to include them as a group and I couldn't seperate them as individuals.

1. Paddington Bear - I first became familiar with Paddington through the BBC television series created by Ivor Wood and narrated by Michael Hordern. The five minute episodes were wonderfully animated, a stop motion Paddington puppet interacting with two dimensional backgrounds and characters. Later I read the Michael Bond books and enjoyed the stories all the more. It's possible that I identify more with Paddington than any other literary character. I have a "Paddington" stare that I reserve for those people that have unwittingly annoyed me. I like few things more than having a nice cup of tea and a piece of cake during a quiet afternoon at home. And, of course, I love marmalade. If I wore a big enough hat I would definitely keep a marmalade sandwich under it "in case of emergencies".

2. Whinnie-the-Pooh - Just to be clear, I'm talking the E.H. Shepard version here not the technicolour Disney version. A.A. Milne's two books about Pooh along with his children's poetry collections ("When We Were Very Young" and "Now We Are Six") were some of the very first books I remember being read. Pooh and his friends remain a source of great wisdom.

3. Iorek Byrnison - Iorek Byrnison is an armoured polar bear. I really don't think I need to say anything more. A character from Philip Pullman's brilliant His Dark Materials trilogy (which reads like Tolkien without the long boring bits). Having being rescued from enslavement, Iorek becomes lead character Lyra's friend and protector.

An armoured, polar, bear. Yup.

4. Fozzie Bear - My fifth favourite Muppet becomes my fourth favourite bear.

5. Yogi Bear - I can remember watching Yogi from quite an early age and the show is irrevocably linked with our first colour television. My parents had always hired televisions (and in fact, until very recently they still did) from Radio Rentals. Every 5 years or so we'd have the excitement of a trip to the shop to pick out the new set. Our very first colour TV was made by Baird, which I learnt were named after the inventor of the first working television, John Logie Baird. I naturally assumed that Yogi Bear was a clever word play in honour of the Scottish inventor. Baseball wasn't very popular in Surrey in the seventies.


No comments: