Brexit, kindness, and a 'washed-up' Hugh Grant: Ben Whishaw and the cast on the making of Paddington 2

When Paddington Bear leapt from the pages of Michael Bond’s books and hit our cinema screens back in 2014, it was impossible not to love him. How could anyone dislike a marmalade sandwich-loving, duffle coat-clad, softly-spoken Peruvian in bear form, whose eventual welcome into the heart of the Brown family made us all feel better about ourselves?

Paddington duly became a hit, topping the charts as the most successful British film of the year, grossing £203 million worldwide and becoming a critical darling like few other family pictures.

Yet, in the run up to its release, Paddington’s success had seemed far from a sure thing. The production was fraught with difficulties: Warner Bros, who had developed the screenplay for years with writer-director Paul King, opted not to pursue it, leaving poor Paddington homeless once again.

That issue was resolved after StudioCanal leapt into the breach – stumping up the entire £42 million budget, making it far and away their most expensive, and risky, production to date – but there was then a further hiccup with how Paddington sounded.

Everyone realised that Colin Firth, the original choice to voice the bear, wasn’t quite right – his mature tones didn’t fit with Paddington’s naïveté and vulnerability. So a last-minute switch was made, with Ben Whishaw stepping into those little red boots.