Marks & Spencer has unveiled Paddington Bear as the star of its Christmas advert this year.

The 90-second advert, called ‘Paddington and the Christmas Visitor’, sees the marmalade-loving bear inadvertently save Christmas for his friends and neighbours.

The family-focused ad follows Paddington as he mistakes a burglar for Santa Claus and helps him return stolen presents.

The bear’s dreams of marmalade are interrupted by a loud thud on the roof on Christmas Eve.

He stumbles upon a burglar dressed in red who makes it clear he is “not Santa”, but the good-natured bear does not realise and instead begins to help him deliver the presents back.

The advert by Grey London ends when Paddington delivers the final present - a marmalade sandwich, which he always keeps under his hat in case of emergencies, to the burglar who he wishes a Merry Christmas.

The campaign is aimed at encouraging customers to focus on their friends and people that matter to them the most.

“Paddington has enchanted children and families all over the world for nearly 60 years, which is why we couldn’t turn down the chance to bring the wonderfully endearing, much-loved British character and his world into the heart of our Christmas campaign this year,” said M&S executive director of customer, marketing and M& Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne.

“We always want to surprise and delight our customers; the timing is perfect as we’re partnering together just ahead of the release of Paddington 2.”

For the first time, M&S has turned the story of the advert into a children’s Christmas book, available in stores and online for £3.

All profits from the book will be donated to NSPCC to help fund its Childine service over the festive season.

Founder of NSPCC’s Childline Dame Esther Rantzen said: “Christmas is an exciting time of year, but for some vulnerable children and young people it can be very difficult, which is why Childline is there for them 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. This, of course, requires a great deal of funding, which is why we’re delighted to be partnering with M&S and Paddington to support the Childline service and raise awareness of the work we do.”

Throughout December, M&S’ team of in-store ‘Moment Makers’ will be surprising customers with Paddington-themed ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ - from a free marmalade sandwich in the café, to a Paddington chocolate at the till.

M&S brand and marketing director Rob Weston said: “Paddington injects the sense of joy, love and neighbourly spirit that makes Christmas feel magical and our story reflects the inclusive, make the most of every moment approach that we take to our customer conversations.”

The ad airs for the first time today.