Amongst other iconic British landmarks, the much-awaited film “Paddington 2” was filmed in Knebworth Park. After the roaring success of the first “Paddington” film, which saw the lovable bear enter the home of the Brown family and the hearts on the nation, the sequel “Paddington 2” is pipped to be one of this year’s huge box-office hits.
Fans have had to wait three years for the release of the second film, but the producers were adamant on “doing things properly”, rather than making a rushed follow-up that doesn’t live up to the hype. Paddington 2 has avoided the mistakes of so many others and the producers have created a masterpiece that will surely remain in the nation’s film viewing repertoire for many years to come. The film is dedicated to Paddington’s creator, Michael Bond, who sadly passed away in June.
Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton) on her 100th birthday: a one-of-a-kind pop-up-book. To Paddington’s dismay, Classic-style baddie, Phoenix Buchanan (voiced by Hugh Grant), steals the book from the antique shop and frames Paddington in the process. With no evidence and facing imprisonment, Paddington must call upon his friends and family to help him clear his name.
For the filming at Knebworth Park, a fairground was set up and filled with hundreds of extras that were on the rides and playing role of the carnival workers. However, the production of the heart-warming film involved some pretty chilling moments. In the film, the fairground scenes are set during a lovely evening in summer, whereas in reality, filming took place at the end of January, right around the time of the cold snap, with temperatures reaching minus figures.
“Paddington bear is one of those characters that you can’t help but to fall in love with. The first film was a true delight to watch and we jumped at the opportunity to be involved with the second one. The directors did an excellent job at managing such large numbers of people and the entire production team’s professionalism really shone through. We would be more than happy to be involved if there was to be a Paddington 3.” said Knebworth House’s Operations Manager, Trish Washer.
Paddington 2 will hit cinema screens across the world from 10th November, but it isn’t the first blockbuster released this year with scenes shot at Knebworth House; we have already seen “Victoria & Abdul”, which saw the real life friendship between Queen Victoria (played by Judi Dench) in her later years and her Indian servant Abdul Karim (played by Bollywood superstar, Ali Fazal). In addition to the smaller grossing film “Goodbye Christopher Robin”, released 20th September, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the life of author A.A. Milne and the creation of the Winnie the Pooh stories inspired by his son C.R. Milne, with a bittersweet interweaving of fact and fantasy, youthful innocence and adult trauma.
Trish Washer went on to say: “The Lytton family have been long standing lovers of Winnie the Pooh and an early edition of the book signed by both A A. Milne and Christopher Robin Milne can be seen in Knebworth House. Working with the production team was a delight and we were so pleased that we were able to play a part in the film’s creation.”
A spokesperson from Knebworth House has hinted at there being other productions in the pipeline, so keep an eye out for the Gothic stately home the next time you are watching the cinema screen.
For more information visit the Knebworth House website at www.knebworthhouse.com, or phone the estate office on 01438 812661.