London

Century of cinema celebrated in Leicester Square with bronze statues

Paddington Image copyright EPA
Image caption Hugh Bonneville unveiled the Paddington statue with a plateful of marmalade sandwiches

Statues of significant moments and characters from cinema have been unveiled in Leicester Square.

Effigies of Paddington Bear, Mr Bean, Mary Poppins, Laurel and Hardy, and Bugs Bunny were some of those chosen to celebrate London's film industry.

Hugh Bonneville, who played Mr Brown in the Paddington films, said they "add to the texture of the square".

Zizi Strallen, who plays Mary Poppins in the West End show, also posed for a picture with her bronze duplicate.

Image caption Mary Poppins' statue looks supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Each of the eight statues is a nod to a different decade of cinema from the 1920s until the present day.

Wonder Woman, Batman and Gene Kelly in his role in Singin' In The Rain are among the other statues installed for the square's 350th anniversary.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Gene Kelly's widow, Patricia Ward Kelly, unveiled the statue of him swinging from a lamppost
Image copyright Scott Garfitt/PinPep
Image caption The statues were erected to celebrate Leicester Square's 350th anniversary

Kelly's widow Patricia Ward Kelly unveiled the statue of him swinging from a lamppost.

She said: "I think it is a superb idea to have the figures from the different decades and I'm really glad that Gene got to be able to be in this.

"I think it will be a really wonderful draw to Leicester Square and remind people of the incredible history here.

"I think Gene would be very, very proud because London was very important to him - he lived here and Leicester Square was very important because his films premiered at the Odeon here."

Image copyright Scott Garfitt/PinPep
Image caption Bugs Bunny chomps on his customary carrot in a flowerbed

Leicester Square was first home to a cinema in 1930, with the first premiere taking place there in 1937.

It has subsequently cemented its place in British cinema history and regularly plays host to some of the most high-profile events in the country's film calendar.

Image copyright Joe Pepler/PinPep
Image caption The statues will remain on the square until June, including this one of Mr Bean, with hopes they will remain permanent

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