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Rescuing the Spectacled Bear

UK Publisher: Hutchinson

When Stephen Fry was asked to travel to Peru to make a documentary tracing the origins of Paddington Bear, he was not overjoyed at the prospect. For someone used to room service, a reliable internet connection and enough power to keep a digital camera, an MP3 player and a sonic toothbrush fully charged at all times, the idea of finding himself in Peru, a country better known for its drug barons and earthquakes than its de luxe hotels and high speed internet providers, was more than a little daunting. Against his better judgement, he was soon sitting in the doctor’s surgery being filled to the brim with immunising doses of hepatitis, yellow fever, typhoid and tetanus and winging his way to South America.

A major part of the resulting film turned out to be the story of Yogi, a bear that had been captured by the people of a small village in the Andes and had lived in a tiny cage, barely big enough for him to turn around, for two years. This was the beginning of Stephen’s obsession with Spectacled Bears and their destiny. Within a week or so of returning to the UK, Stephen and the film-makers had decided that another film should be made devoted to the plight of the Spectacled Bear and that a charitable foundation should be established for the purpose of rescuing distressed bears, purchasing land for their exclusive use and to pursue research into their numbers, their habitat, behaviour and future.

Based on Stephen Fry’s personal diaries, Rescuing the Spectacled Bear is the funny, heart-warming and illuminating story of the making of this second film.