On September 5, Royal Mail issues a set of six stamps and a miniature sheet celebrating 65 years of Paddington Bear.

The popular anthropomorphic character first featured in October 1958 in A Bear Called Paddington, a children’s book written by British author Michael Bond.

Bond had been inspired by a toy bear he bought on Christmas Eve in 1956, as a present for his wife, when they were living near Paddington Station in London. His initial storyline was also influenced by memories of wartime refugees and evacuees passing through railway stations.

The storyline featured the adventures of a kind-hearted but accident-prone bear, newly arrived in London from ‘Darkest Peru’ wearing a label saying ‘Please look after this bear’, and adopted by the Brown family.

Many more books followed, and they have since sold more than 35 million copies worldwide, and been translated into more than 40 languages.

The first artist to illustrate Paddington was Peggy Fortnum, whose pen-and-ink drawings adorned all the books in the original series. She established his iconic look, including his floppy hat, duffel coat and suitcase.

Equally influential was Ivor Wood, who designed and directed the Paddington animated television series for the BBC, first broadcast in 1976. This featured a three-dimensional puppet of Paddington, with two-dimensional cardboard scenery and cut-outs of other characters, in a total of 56 episodes narrated by Michael Hordern.

Wood also developed a drawn image of Paddington which featured in a series of strip cartoons published in the London Evening News in the late 1970s.

More recently two blockbuster films, Paddington in 2014 and Paddington 2 in 2017, have used a computer-generated image of the lead character alongside an all-star cast of human actors.

Since 2020, a new animated television series, The Adventures of Paddington, has been broadcast in the UK by Nick Jr.

In September 2022, Paddington became a symbol of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, after appearing with her in a pre-recorded comedy sketch which had been shown as part of the Platinum Jubilee Party in June.

All the stamp images come from the 1970s, and were created by Ivor Wood. The counter-sheet designs feature illustrations from the London Evening News strip cartoons, while the four-stamp miniature sheet shows scenes from the BBC’s television series.

The set was designed by Together Design, and printed in litho by Cartor Security Printers.

1st class
Paddington with a jar of marmalade.

1st class
Paddington sawing wood.

Paddington pushing a shopping trolley.

Paddington holding an ice cream.

Paddington carrying presents.

Paddington and a crab.


1st class
Paddington reaching for a marmalade sandwich.

1st class
Paddington and Mr Gruber having elevenses.

Paddington and the Brown family having breakfast.

Paddington baking.

The presentation pack tells the full story of Paddington through the years, in paperback, television and film.

A limited-edition press sheet is offfered, comprising 14 uncut miniature sheets. First day covers are augmented by medal covers, and set of stamp cards is available as usual.

Set of 6 stamps £10.60
Miniature sheet £6.20
Presentation pack £17.70
First day cover (stamps) £13.40
First day cover (mini sheet) £8.10
Press sheet £86.80
Stamp cards £4.95

The Paddington stories are a world famous British export, but this is the sixth stamp issue of 2023 based on works of fiction

Iconic artwork is reproduced here, although there is nothing very original in the designs

Paddington fans should be pleased, and perhaps those who were children in the 1970s might feel a faint nostalgic glow