Having taken British cinemas by storm over Christmas, the excellent family comedy Paddington is finally set to hit US theaters this weekend. If you’re unfamiliar with the adventures of the Peruvian bear, let us try to persuade you of his charms before you go to see it. No plot spoilers though!

A sneak peek of the loveable bear, who makes his US cinema debut this weekend (16 Jan)

The character was created by Michael Bond in 1958, a polite bear who loves marmalade sandwiches that is found at London’s Paddington Station and taken in by the Brown family. In the film, he adjusts happily to his new life in London until he gets into a scrape when he meets an evil taxidermist. We’ll let you find out how our hero deals with that for yourselves!

More: ‘Paddington’ runs away with the UK box office, taking over £8 million on opening weekend

Ben Whishaw, the young British actor who played ‘Q’ in the most recent James Bond movie Skyfall, provides the voice for the anthropomorphised bear. Whishaw stepped in at the last minute when Colin Firth, the original choice for Paddington, dropped out of the project in the middle of last year.

He is supported by some of the very best in British acting, with Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins playing Mr and Mrs Brown, Paddington’s adopted family. Bonneville is best known for playing Lord Grantham in ‘Downton Abbey’, the British period drama that’s found huge success in America, while Hawkins was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Blue Jasmine last year.

The new Doctor Who Peter Capaldi also features, as do Harry Potter actors Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent. Playing the taxidermist is Nicole Kidman, who brings some overseas star power to the title. Comedy director Paul King, responsible for British TV successes such as ‘The Mighty Boosh’, helms the project.

Paddington received rave reviews upon its British release back in November, with many critics and pundits praising the way in which it updated the beloved children’s character for the 21st century. It currently holds an extremely impressive 97% aggregated reviews score on Rotten Tomatoes, and is arguably up with The Lego Movie as the family movie experience of the last twelve months.

More: Ben Whishaw named as Colin Firth’s replacement as voice of ‘Paddington’