KENDAL’S connection with Postman Pat – one of the world’s most popular children’s characters – is to be celebrated with a gala film screening in the town.
Postman Pat: The Movie goes on general release in the UK on May 23 - but the Brewery Arts Centre will screen the film six days earlier.
The exclusive event is expected to be attended by Green Wing and Dirk Gently actor Stephen Mangan, who provides Postman Pat’s voice for the movie.
Postman Pat was created by John Cunliffe when he was a teacher at Castle Park Primary School and the setting for his stories is the fictional Greendale valley, based on Longsleddale near Kendal. Mr Cunliffe is also attending the gala.
However, in the movie the popular postie is tempted by fame and fortune after he enters a talent competition and the quest for stardom threatens to tear him away from his home town.
The character’s singing voice is Boyzone vocalist Ronan Keating and other characters are voiced by award-winning actor Jim Broadbent, ex-Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint and former Dr Who David Tennant.
Although Postman Pat: The Movie has its world premiere in London’s Leicester Square on May 11, the producers decided to hold the special screening in Kendal on May 17 to celebrate the town’s association with the character before the general release across the UK on May 23.
Mr Mangan said: “It’s been a great experience to lend my voice to such a popular and well-known British character as Postman Pat. I am so excited to premiere the film in Leicester Square and return with Pat to Kendal and the Post Office that inspired the original stories, to show it to the local community.”
Ian Stephens, Cumbria Tourism’s managing director, said: “Cumbria has had long associations with the character of Postman Pat. Indeed, the creator of the Pat stories, John Cunliffe, lived and worked in Kendal for many years and as a result based many of the characterisations on people he knew in the immediate area.
“The fact that Kendal is hosting a gala screening of Postman Pat: The Movie at the town’s Brewery Arts Centre is significant. This will no doubt further raise the profile of Kendal to new audiences both in the UK and further afield.’’
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Brewery chief executive Richard Foster said: “It is a major coup not only for us but the whole of South Lakeland. Kendal is the home of Postman Pat and this prestigious event will raise the profile of the whole area to a potential global audience of millions.”
* Gazette readers have a chance to win a family set of four tickets for the gala screening of Postman Pat: The Movie.
All you have to do is answer the questions: What was John Cunliffe’s profession and where was he working when he created Postman Pat?
Write your answers on a postcard or the back of a sealed envelope, and send it to: Postman Pat Competition, The Westmorland Gazette, 1 Wainwright’s Yard, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4DP. (Usual terms apply. Deadline for entries: Friday, May 2).