6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today click here

Pam Ferris in ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’

PUBLISHED: 10:32 13 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:32 13 December 2016

Pam Ferris

Pam Ferris

(Channel 4 images must not be altered or manipulated in any way) CHANNEL 4 PICTURE PUBLICITY 124 HORSEFERRY ROAD LONDON SW1P 2TX

Kent-based actress Pam Ferris is voicing the part of Grandma in a new adaptation for TV this Christmas of a children’s classic. Words by: Sarah Sturt. Pictures: Channel 4 Television

We're Going On A Bear HuntWe're Going On A Bear Hunt

Pam Ferris fell in love with Kent when she shone as Ma Larkin in The Darling Buds of May and, seven years, ago moved from London to the village of Elham.

She and her husband initially looked at a house in Pluckley (where the exterior scenes for the much-loved TV series were shot) but, as Pam says: “It would have felt like incest living there!”

She also reveals that all the interior scenes for Darling Buds were in fact done in Leeds.

“Not a lot of people know that,” she tells me. “So you’d walk out of a door in Leeds into the Kent countryside! It was a continuity nightmare.”

I am chatting with the star of such TV favourites as Rosemary & Thyme and Call the Midwife and films that include Matilda and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, in advance of her voice-part in Channel 4, Lupus Films and Walker Productions’ animation We’re Going on A Bear Hunt, which airs this Christmas.

The half-hour film expands the universe of the much-loved book to include Olivia Colman (Broadchurch, The Night Manager), Pam Ferris and Mark Williams (Harry Potter, Father Brown) as the brand-new characters of Mum, Grandma and Dad respectively. Not that Pam actually encountered her fellow actors doing the recording process – “you’re basically on your own in a small box, it’s a dark and lonely job” – but there were definite pluses.

“There’s much more interaction with both the director and producer when it’s just your voice and you’re not having to worry about camera angles and lighting and so on – and it frees up the imagination wonderfully.”

Based on the hit bedtime book written by Michael Rosen (who plays the Bear in the film) and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury and produced by the makers of the hugely popular The Snowman and The Snowdog animation, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt follows the adventures of siblings Stan, Katie, Rosie, Max, the baby and Rufus the dog, who decide one day to go on an adventure in search of bears.

Coming up against a host of obstacles, the family ventures through whirling snowstorms, thick oozing mud and dark forests on their ambitious quest.

But when Rosie and Rufus become detached from the rest of the party, it looks like bear-hunting might not be such fun after all...

Channel 4 will broadcast the one-off, half-hour special this Christmas, bringing to life the irresistible story and beautiful artwork of the 25 year-old children’s classic.

Made with exquisite, hand-drawn animation, the film is set to enchant a whole new audience with its story of perseverance, optimism and a love of nature.

While Pam’s role as Grandma is small, it’s a key one as it introduces the concept of loss. Recently widowed, she is getting on with her life and helping her grandchildren cope with not having Granddad around any more.

The scene when Rosie, who finds Bear and realises he’s lonely, hungry and cold and not at all frightening, is truly poignant.

She gives him her Grandad’s scarf to keep him warm, and a cuddle that one senses is equally needed by Bear and child.

Later Rosie tells her Grandma how she’s feeling and Pam’s character explains: “There’s nothing wrong with being sad – it’s just a way of remembering happy times.”

But this isn’t a sad film, and children of all ages will find themselves joining in the familiar refrain of “we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ve got to go through it.” And many will already have enjoyed their very own ‘bear hunt’ adventures with their grandparents.

Pam herself doesn’t have children but she and husband Roger Frost love going on long walks with their dogs Elsie, a Jack Russell and rescue lurcher Stanley in their local woods and to the coast – Whitstable and Deal being favourite destinations.

The couple have also thrown themselves into village life and Pam recalls how when they lived in London (“I’ve been a townie most of my life”) they only knew four or five people in their street but within a month of moving to Elham had “30 names and telephone numbers.”

She is very proud of the local Farmers’ Market the village runs twice a year and passionate about the work of the Fifth Trust (which provides fulfilling opportunities for adults with learning difficulties) in nearby Barham, where she has been has been co-opted onto the Board in a fundraising role.

The Trust has facilities on two sites in the Elham Valley for more than 100 students, many of whom get involved working in the on-site café or Vineyard Garden Centre, which gives them valuable life experience and skills.

And what of 2017 plans for this 68-year-old character actress? “I spend more time turning stuff down than accepting new roles, it has to be something that I really want to do – like Bear Hunt,” she tells me. “I love Michael Rosen and I adore his work.

“I’m just really enjoying being here, in Kent, with my husband and the dogs.”

Find out more

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is produced by Ruth Fielding and Camilla Deakin with Norton Herrick as executive producer for Herrick Entertainment and Helen McAleer and Julia Posen as executive producers for Walker Productions. Joanna Harrison and Robin Shaw are co-directors. It was commissioned for Channel 4 by Jay Hunt, Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer, Piers Wenger, Head of Drama, Beth Willis, Deputy Head of Drama and John Hay, Head of Specialist Factual.

We’re Going On a Bear Hunt is a Lupus Films Production in association with Bear Hunt Films, Walker Productions and Herrick Entertainment for Channel 4 Television Corporation. It’s a Lupus Films Production in association with Bear Hunt Films, Walker Productions and Herrick Entertainment for Channel 4 Television Corporation.

More from Christmas

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Christmas Day is about celebrating with loved ones over good food and conversation, so head to one of these fantastic restaurants or cosy pubs and have a festive feast

Read more
Monday, January 9, 2017

From high street to online butchers, if you are looking for the perfect Christmas turkey, we have lots of shops that source locally or hand rear their meat. We pick 10 of the best butchers in Kent

Read more
Friday, December 16, 2016

Rosemary Shrager Cookery School in Tunbridge Wells shows readers how they can make a fabulous festive feast at home

Read more
December 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

With Christmas preparations dominating this month, it can be easy to overlook the space outside, but there’s still plenty to do in your garden

Read more
December 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Kent-based actress Pam Ferris is voicing the part of Grandma in a new adaptation for TV this Christmas of a children’s classic. Words by: Sarah Sturt. Pictures: Channel 4 Television

Read more
December 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Rosemary Shrager Cookery School in Tunbridge Wells shows readers how they can make a fabulous festive feast at home

Read more
December 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

During December, a festive afternoon tea is a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping so we picked 9 spots that offer a seasonal afternoon tea in Kent

Read more
Monday, December 5, 2016

‘Buying local’ can range from food and drink for your festive table to gifts for the whole family. So make sure to shop in Kent this Christmas

Read more
December 2016
Monday, December 5, 2016

These festive place settings are easy to make and are sure to be a talking point with your guests

Read more
December 2016
Monday, December 5, 2016

Wondering what to do in Kent over Christmas? We have selected 33 of the best seasonal events from around the county

Read more
December 2016

Newsletter Signup

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad
Kent Life Application Link


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Kent's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search