Mr. Bean is a British comedy television series of 14 half-hour episodes written by and starring Rowan Atkinson as the title character. Different episodes were written by Robin Driscoll, Richard Curtis and one by Ben Elton. The pilot episode was broadcast on ITV on 1 January 1990, with the last television episode, "Goodnight Mr. Bean" broadcast on 31 October 1995. The final episode, "Hair by Mr. Bean of London", was a video exclusive released on 15 November 1995, but not broadcast in the UK until 2006.
Based on a character originally developed by Atkinson at university, the series follows the exploits of Mr. Bean, described by Atkinson as "a child in a grown man's body", in solving various problems presented by everyday tasks and often causing disruption in the process. Bean rarely speaks, and the largely physical humour of the series is derived from Bean's interactions with other people and his unusual solutions to situations. The series was influenced by physical performers such as Jacques Tati and comic actors from silent films.
During its five-year run the series gained large UK audience figures, including 18.74 million for the 1992 episode "The Trouble With Mr. Bean". The series has been the recipient of a number of international awards, including the Rose d'Or. The show has been sold in 245 territories worldwide, and has inspired two feature films and an animated cartoon spin-off.Cake girl(Mr Bean,sgirl.jpg
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The character of Mr. Bean was developed while Atkinson was studying for his MSc at Oxford University. A sketch featuring the character was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in the early 1980s. A similar character called Robert Box, played by Atkinson, appeared in the one-off 1979 ITV sitcom Canned Laughter, which also featured routines used in the 1997 film Bean. In 1987, one of Mr. Bean's earliest appearances occurred at the "Just For Laughs" comedy festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. When programme co-ordinators were scheduling Atkinson into the festival program, Atkinson insisted that he perform on the French-speaking bill rather than the English-speaking program. Having no French dialogue in his act at all, program co-ordinators could not understand why Atkinson wanted to perform on the French bill. As it turned out, Atkinson's act at the festival was a test platform for the Mr. Bean character and Atkinson wanted to see how the silent character's physical comedy would fare on an international stage with a non-English speaking audience.
The name of the character was not decided until after the first programme had been produced, with a number of other vegetable-influenced names, such as "Mr. Cauliflower", being explored. Atkinson cited the earlier comedy character Monsieur Hulot, created by French comedian and director Jacques Tati, as an influence on the character. Stylistically, Mr. Bean is also very similar to early silent films, relying purely upon physical comedy, with Mr. Bean speaking very little dialogue (although like other live-action TV series of the time, it features a laugh track). This has allowed the series to be sold worldwide without any significant changes to dialogue.
The title character, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a childish and selfish buffoon who brings various unusual schemes and contrivances to everyday tasks. He lives alone in his small flat in Highbury, North London, and is almost always seen in his trademark tweed jacket and a skinny red tie. He also usually wears a digital calculator watch (which he does not like to lose). Mr. Bean rarely speaks, and when he does, it is generally only a few mumbled words which are in a comically low-pitched voice. His first name (he names himself "Bean" to others) and profession, if any, are never mentioned. In the first film adaptation, "Mr." appears on his passport in the "first name" field, and he is shown employed as a guard at London's National Gallery. In Mr. Bean's Holiday, however, his name is listed on his passport as "Rowan".
Mr. Bean often seems unaware of basic aspects of the way the world works, and the programme usually features his attempts at what would normally be considered simple tasks, such as going swimming, using a television set, redecorating or going to church. The humour largely comes from his original (and often absurd) solutions to problems and his total disregard for others when solving them, his pettiness, and occasional malevolence.
At the beginning of episode two onwards, Mr. Bean falls from the sky in a beam of light, accompanied by a choir singing Ecce homo qui est faba ("Behold the man who is a bean"). These opening sequences were initially in black and white in episodes 2 and 3, and were intended by the producers to show his status as an "ordinary man cast into the spotlight". However, later episodes showed Mr. Bean dropping from the night sky in a deserted London street, against the backdrop of St. Paul's Cathedral suggesting Bean is an alien. At the end of episodes 3 and 6 he is also shown being sucked right back up into the sky in the respective background scenes (black scene in episode 3 and street scene in episode 6). Atkinson himself has acknowledged that Bean "has a slightly alien aspect to him"; in the animated series, he was actually shown to be an extraterrestrial.
Bean and TeddyTeddy is Mr. Bean's teddy bear, perhaps Mr. Bean's best friend. The bear is a dark brown, knitted oddity with button eyes and sausage-shaped limbs, invariably ending up broken in half or in various other states of destruction and disfiguration. Although Teddy is inanimate, Mr. Bean often pretends it is alive. For example, when Mr. Bean hypnotises Teddy, he snaps his fingers and the bear's head falls backwards as if it has fallen asleep instantly (Bean used his finger to prop Teddy's head up). Mr. Bean behaves as if the bear is real, buying it a Christmas present or trying not to wake it in the mornings. The bear is often privy to Mr. Bean's various schemes and doubles as a dish cloth or paint brush in an emergency; it has been decapitated ("Mr. Bean in Room 426") and shrunk in the wash ("Tee Off, Mr. Bean"). Teddy is also Mr. Bean's "pet" in "Hair by Mr. Bean of London" and is used to win a pet show. The Teddy that was used in filming sits in the windshield of the replica of Mr. Bean's mini that is on display at the National Motor Museum.
Rowan Atkinson demonstrating a famous scene from the Mr. Bean episode Do-It-Yourself Mr Bean on a Mini at Goodwood Circuit in 2009Mr. Bean's car, a British Leyland Mini 1000, developed a character of sorts over the series and was central to several antics, such as Mr. Bean getting dressed in it, driving while sitting in an armchair strapped to the roof or attempting to avoid a parking garage toll by driving out through the entrance.
At first, an orange 1969 BMC Mini MK II (registration RNT 996H) was Mr. Bean's vehicle, but this was destroyed in an off-screen crash at the end of the first episode. From then on, the car was a 1976 model (registration SLW 287R), yellow with a matt black bonnet. It made its first appearance in "The Curse of Mr. Bean".
The Mini also had a number of innovative security measures, for example Bean uses a bolt-latch and padlock, rather than the lock fitted to the car, and removes the steering wheel instead of the key. These formed a running joke in several episodes, at one point deterring a car thief. The car, confused with another demonstration car of exactly the same model and colours (but no padlock) (registration ACW 497V), was crushed by a tank in "Back to School, Mr. Bean", but returned in later episodes, perhaps having actually been the identical demonstration car from that point on.
Mr. Bean has a long-running feud with the unseen driver of a light blue Reliant Regal Supervan III (registration GRA 26K), which will usually get turned over, crashed out of its parking space and so forth. This conflict originated in the first episode, when the Reliant's driver held the Mini up on the way to a mathematics exam, and subsequently became a running joke throughout the series.
Both the Mini and the Reliant re-appeared as characters in the animated Mr. Bean cartoons, and in the film Mr. Bean's Holiday, yet another Mini appears – a lighter yellow/green (Apple Jack green) than the original with a black sunroof, registration YGL 572T. Also seen is a left hand drive version of his Mini, owned by the character Sabine which has a French registration. A sequence involving the Mini driving through Harrod's was shot for the 1997 film, but ultimately was not included in the final cut. In the animated series, his Mini's registration plate number is STE 952R.
After filming ended, the present Mini used in filming was sold to Kariker Kars to be hired for various events. It was then temporarily displayed as a major attraction at the Rover groups museum. In 1997, it was purchased by the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum. The car is on display today at the National Motor Musuem, Beaulieu.
Mr. Bean's "girlfriend", Irma Gobb, played by Matilda Ziegler, appeared in a number of episodes. She is treated relatively inconsiderately by Bean, who appears to regard her more as a friend and companion than a love interest. However, he does become jealous when she dances with another man at a disco in "Mr. Bean Goes to Town", and she certainly expects him to propose to her on Christmas Day in "Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean", with his failure to do so resulting in her leaving him for good (she does not appear in any subsequent episodes). The character later appeared in the animated series. The spin-off book Mr. Bean's Diary (1993) states that Mr. Bean met Irma Gobb at a local library.
Although Mr. Bean is the only significant human character in the programme, others appear, usually as foils for his various antics. Other than his girlfriend, Mr. Bean's only friends appear to be Hubert and Rupert, who appear as Bean's New Year's party guests in the episode "Do-It-Yourself, Mr. Bean" (although they altered his living room clock and fled to the party in the flat opposite, gaining real friends in the process) and Robin Driscoll appears in many episodes as various characters. However, several notable British actors and comedians appear alongside Atkinson in sketches as various one-off supporting characters, including Richard Briers, Angus Deayton, Nick Hancock, Paul Bown, Caroline Quentin, Danny La Rue, Roger Lloyd Pack, David Schneider and Richard Wilson.
The programme was produced by Tiger Television, later renamed Tiger Aspect, for Thames Television from 1990 to 1992 and then for Central from 1993 to 1995. Rather than being shown as a series, each episode of Mr. Bean was produced individually, and broadcast at intermittent intervals on the ITV network in the United Kingdom across six years, often around New Year. The episode "Hair by Mr. Bean of London" has not been broadcast on ITV, but was instead reserved for video release. After its original run it has been shown repeatedly on PBS and satellite channels such as Telemundo in the US, the CBC in Canada, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central X and ITV3 in the UK, Disney Channel in Asia, and internationally. Digital channel ITV3 began rebroadcasting the series on 5 January 2010, and again on 24 May 2010.
The record-selling UK videos were withdrawn shortly before the release of Bean, and DVDs were released on an annual basis as of 2004.