Belfast Telegraph

William shakes paws with Paddington

The Duke of Cambridge has met Paddington Bear - one of Peru's most famous exports - and could not keep the grin off his face.

William came across the popular children's character in Shanghai just before the Chinese premiere of his movie.

On the red carpet outside the Shanghai Film Museum the second in line to the throne shook hands with the famous duffle-coat wearing bear.

Paddington stars a wealth of British film talent including Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent and Ben Whishaw as the British voice of Paddington.

The movie's director Paul King and producer David Heyman were also at the event with celebrated actor Chen Xuedong who voices Paddington in the Chinese version of the movie.

Mr King said: "Paddington is the story of a young bear who travels around the world to find a warm welcome and a friendly home. We hope Chinese audiences will greet him with open arms, as others have done around the world".

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid was also at the event and earlier this week he joined William when the royal launched the first UK-China Year of Cultural exchange.

The Duke, who did not stay to watch the movie, presented a historical documentary to the Chinese Film Archives. It was filmed by a British war correspondent and is set in 1900s Shanghai and was restored by the British Film Institute.

After handing it to Ren Zhonglun, president of the Shanghai Film Group and Shanghai Film Museum, he said: "As a gift from one nation to another, this will cement our relationship for what I hope will be every bit as strong for the next 100 years."

And in a symbolic gesture to promote future cultural exchanges between the UK and China William, who is Bafta president, gave the museum a replica of director Zhang Yimou's Bafta award for his acclaimed film Raise The Red Lantern.

The gift recognises China's rich film culture and is a symbol of Bafta's intentions to forge stronger links with the creative talent in the country.

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