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Michael Bond

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Michael Bond
Bond with a Paddington Bear toy
Thomas Michael Bond

(1926-01-13)13 January 1926
Died27 June 2017(2017-06-27) (aged 91)
London, England
Resting placePaddington Old Cemetery
Years active1945–2017
Notable workPaddington Bear series
  • Brenda Mary Johnson
    (m. 1950⁠–⁠1981)
  • Susan Marfrey Rogers
    (m. 1981)

Thomas Michael Bond CBE (13 January 1926 – 27 June 2017) was an English author. He is best known for a series of fictional stories for children, featuring the character of Paddington Bear. More than 35 million Paddington books have been sold around the world, and the characters have also appeared in a popular film series (featuring Paddington and Paddington 2 to date) and on television. His first book was published in 1958 and his last in 2017, a span of 59 years.

Early life[edit]

Thomas Michael Bond was born on 13 January 1926 in Newbury, Berkshire.[1] He was raised in Reading, where his visits to Reading railway station to watch the Cornish Riviera Express pass through started a love of trains. His father was a manager for the post office.[2] He was educated at Presentation College in Reading. His time there was unhappy. He told The Guardian in November 2014 that his parents had chosen the school "for the simple reason [that his] mother liked the colour of the blazers ... she didn't make many mistakes in life, but that was one of them". He left education aged 14, despite his parents' wishes for him to go to university.[2] The Second World War was under way and he went to work in a solicitor's office for a year, and then as an engineer's assistant for the BBC.[3]

On 10 February 1943[4] Bond survived an air raid in Reading. The building in which he was working collapsed under him, killing 41 people and injuring many more.[5][6] Shortly afterwards he volunteered for aircrew service in the Royal Air Force as a 17-year-old, but he was discharged after being found to suffer from acute air sickness.[citation needed] He then served in the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army until 1947.[7]


Art installation depicting Bond in Saint Mary's Square, Paddington, with Paddington Bear

Bond began writing in 1945, when he was stationed with the Army in Cairo, and sold his first short story to the magazine London Opinion. He was paid seven guineas and thought that he "wouldn't mind being a writer".[2] After he'd produced several plays and short stories, and had become a BBC television cameraman (he worked on Blue Peter for a time), his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published by Collins in 1958. Barbara Ker Wilson had read his draft at one sitting and she then phoned Bond at the number given. She was put through to Lime Grove Studios. Bond had to tell her that he wasn't supposed to take calls at work.[8]

This was the start of Bond's series of books recounting the tales of Paddington Bear, a bear from "darkest Peru," whose Aunt Lucy sends him to England, carrying a jar of marmalade. In the first book the Brown family find the bear at Paddington Station, and adopt him, naming the bear after the station.[7] By 1965 Bond was able to give up his BBC job to work full time as a writer.[9]

Paddington's adventures have sold over 35 million books, have been published in nearly 20 countries, in over 40 languages, and have inspired pop bands, race horses, plays, hot air balloons, movies and adaptations for television.[7][10] Bond stated in December 2007 that he did not plan to continue the adventures of Paddington Bear in further volumes,[11] but in April 2014 it was reported that a new book, entitled Love From Paddington, would be published that autumn. In Paddington, a 2014 film based on the books, Bond had a credited cameo as the Kindly Gentleman.[12]

Bond also wrote another series of children's books, telling of the adventures of a guinea pig named Olga da Polga, who was named after the Bond family's pet,[2] as well as the animated BBC television series The Herbs (1968).[13] Bond also wrote culinary mystery stories for adults, featuring Monsieur Pamplemousse and his faithful bloodhound Pommes Frites.[3]

Bond wrote Reflection on the Passing of the Years shortly after his 90th birthday. The piece was read by Sir David Attenborough, who also turned 90 in 2016, at the national service of thanksgiving to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday at St Paul's Cathedral in June 2016.[14]

On 20 June 2016 StudioCanal acquired the Paddington franchise outright. Bond was allowed to keep the publishing rights to his series,[15] which he licensed in April 2017 to HarperCollins for the next six years.[16]

Television writing[edit]

Bond wrote two short films for the BBC: Simon's Good Deed, which was shown on 11 October 1955,[17] and Napoleon's Day Out, shown on 9 April 1957.[18] He also wrote one episode of the series The World Our Stage, an adaptation of the short story "The Decoration" by Guy de Maupassant, which aired on 4 January 1958.[19]

His best known television work is as the creator and writer of the children's television series The Herbs and The Adventures of Parsley, again for the BBC.[13][20]


Bond was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), for services to children's literature, in the 1997 Birthday Honours[21][22] and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 Birthday Honours.[23][24] On 6 July 2007 the University of Reading awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Letters.[25]

On 10 January 2018 GWR named one of their Class 800 trains "Michael Bond / Paddington Bear".[26]

Personal life and death[edit]

Statue of Paddington Bear in Paddington Station following Michael Bond's death.

Bond was married twice: to Brenda Mary Johnson in 1950, from whom he separated in the 1970s; and to Susan Marfrey Rogers in 1981. He had two children.[27] He lived in London, not far from Paddington Station, the place that inspired many of his books.[9][27]

Bond died in London on 27 June 2017, at the age of 91. The cause of death was not disclosed. The film Paddington 2 (2017) was dedicated to his memory.[1] He is buried in Paddington Old Cemetery close to where he lived. The epitaph on his gravestone reads "Please look after this bear. Thank you."

In 2022, on the ITV programme DNA Journeys, it was discovered that Bond is a relative of the television presenter Kate Garraway.[28]


Paddington Bear series[edit]

  • 1958 A Bear Called Paddington. London: Collins.[29]
  • 1959 More About Paddington. London: Collins.
  • 1960 Paddington Helps Out. London: Collins.
  • 1961 Paddington Abroad. London: Collins.
  • 1962 Paddington at Large. London: Collins.
  • 1964 Paddington Marches On. London: Collins.
  • 1966 Paddington at Work. London: Collins.
  • 1968 Paddington Goes to Town. London: Collins.
  • 1970 Paddington Takes the Air. London: Collins. ISBN 0-00-675379-5
  • 1972 Paddington's Garden. London: Collins. ISBN 0-394-82643-4
  • 1973 Paddington's Blue Peter Story Book (sometimes titled as Paddington Takes to TV). London: Collins. ISBN 0-563-12356-7
  • 1974 Paddington on Top. London: Collins. ISBN 0-00-675377-9
  • 1975 Paddington at the Tower. London: Collins. ISBN 0-00-734141-5
  • 1979 Paddington Takes the Test. London: Collins. ISBN 0-06-231240-5
  • 1980 Paddington on Screen. London: Collins. ISBN 0-440-40029-5
  • 1984 Paddington at the Zoo. London: Collins. ISBN 0-00-664744-8
  • 1986 Paddington at the Palace. New York: Putnam. ISBN 0-00-710440-5
  • 1987 Paddington's Busy Day. London: Collins. ISBN 0-00-181182-7
  • 1992 A Day by the Sea ISBN 0-00-674310-2
  • 2001 Paddington in the Garden. London: Collins. ISBN 0-06-231844-6
  • 2003 Paddington and the Grand Tour. London: Collins. ISBN 0-00-712313-2
  • 2008 Paddington Rules the Waves. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-726765-1
  • 2008 Paddington Here and Now. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-147364-7[30]
  • 2012 Paddington Races Ahead. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-745884-4
  • 2012 Paddington Goes for Gold. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-745884-4
  • 2014 Love From Paddington. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-236816-4[7]
  • 2017 Paddington's Finest Hour. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-266972-8[31]
  • 2018: Paddington at St Paul's. New York: HarperCollins.[32]
  • 2018: Paddington Turns Detective and Other Funny Stories. ISBN 978-0-00-827980-6

Olga da Polga series[edit]

Chapter books[edit]

Picture books[edit]

Monsieur Pamplemousse series[edit]

Other books[edit]



  1. ^ a b Michael Bond, Paddington Bear Creator, Is Dead at 91 The New York Times, 28 June 2017
  2. ^ a b c d Pauli, Michelle (28 November 2014). "Michael Bond: 'Paddington stands up for things, he's not afraid of going to the top and giving them a hard stare'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Obituary: Michael Bond". BBC News. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Air Raid, February 1943". Reading Museum. Reading Borough Council. Archived from the original on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  5. ^ Midgley, Emma (13 February 2012). "Paddington Bear 'inspired by evacuees' says author Bond". BBC. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Paddington Bear writer's wartime Reading Podcast now online". Reading Borough Council. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d "Paddington Bear author Michael Bond writes new book". BBC News. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Barbara Ker Wilson obituary". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington". paddington.com. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  10. ^ John Plunkett (22 January 2008). "BBC celebrates 50 years of Paddington". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
  11. ^ Richard Lea (11 December 2007). "Paddington Bear faces questions on asylum status". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
  12. ^ Lang, Kirsty (31 October 2014). "Paddington creator Michael Bond makes cameo in new film". BBC.
  13. ^ a b c "Michael Bond obituary". The Guardian. 28 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Attenborough to read Bond's tribute at Queen's birthday service". BBC News. 8 June 2016.
  15. ^ Keslassy, John Hopewell,Elsa (20 June 2016). "Studiocanal Acquires Paddington Bear Brand, Plans Third Paddington Movie". Retrieved 29 June 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ "HarperCollins secures six-year publishing partnership for Paddington". Archived from the original on 11 July 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Listings: 11 October 1955". BBC Radio Times.
  18. ^ a b "Listings: 9 April 1957". BBC Radio Times.
  19. ^ a b "Listings: 4 January 1958". BBC Radio Times.
  20. ^ a b c Adrian Gaster (1977). The International Authors and Writers Who's who. International Biographical Centre. p. 107. ISBN 9780900332456.
  21. ^ Archipelago, World. "Michael Bond". HarperCollins UK. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  22. ^ "No. 54794". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1997. p. 10.
  23. ^ "The Queen's Birthday Honours 2015". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Birthday Honours 2015: Van Morrison and Kevin Spacey head list". BBC News. 13 June 2015.
  25. ^ Malvern, David (6 July 2007). "Oration presenting Michael Bond, OBE for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters at a Degree Congregation, 6th July 2007" (PDF). University of Reading. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  26. ^ "Our named Intercity Express Trains". GWR. 10 January 2018.
  27. ^ a b Lambert, Victoria (31 August 2016). "Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond: 'I could have pasted my room with rejection slips. But I never gave up'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  28. ^ "Kate Garraway discovers she is related to Paddington Bear's creator". ITV News. 5 October 2022. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  29. ^ Nicholas Lezard (19 January 2005). "Classic of the month: A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
  30. ^ "In praise of...Paddington Bear". The Guardian. London. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
  31. ^ "Paddington's Finest Hour". HarperCollins. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  32. ^ Michael Bond's last Paddington Bear story out in 2018

External links[edit]