Retro

12 Facts About Mr. Bean Most People Don't Know

Mr. Bean is quite the icon.

If you haven't seen him get a turkey stuck on his head or screw up a historic painting by sneezing on it, then have you really lived? The answer is no.

Most people know Mr. Bean as the goofy guy who loves to dance, but what about the things we don't know?

Here are some facts that a lot of people don't know about our beloved Mr. Bean!

1. Mr. Bean started as stage character.

Mr. Bean may have made its TV debut in 1990, but the character started 10 years before that. Rowan Atkinson was pursuing his master's degree in electrical engineering when he was asked to do a sketch for a one-night show at the Oxford Playhouse. "I'm not really naturally a writer, so I just had to invent sort of 5 minutes of something at 48 hours' notice. I just stood in front of the mirror and started to mess about with my face. And this strange, surreal, sort of non-speaking character evolved," said Atkinson.

2. There were only ever 14 episodes produced.

Shocking, I know. But it's true! Though we all think of Mr. Bean as this endless source of humor, there were only ever 14 episodes produced. Of course, movies, the animated series, and books made it feel like more. But as for the original series, we have just 14 episodes to enjoy.

3. The series has debuted in over 200 countries.

"There doesn't seem to be a country in the world, or not that I have visited, or indeed none that I have heard of, who don't seem to get him, who don't seem to understand and enjoy the character of Mr. Bean," Atkinson told ABC. Because the bulk of Mr. Bean revolves around physical comedy, the humor can be translated across the world regardless of the language.

4. Atkinson doesn't really know what his face looks like.

"I've hardly ever looked at my face … I hope it's doing what I think it's doing," says the Mr. Bean actor. He just kind of puts his faith in what he's doing and hopes for the best. When he hears the laughter, he knows it's working!

5. The guy who directed 'Love Actually' helped develop the character.

Richard Curtis was Rowan Atkinson's creative partner at the time, and the two collaborated to make this iconic character of Mr. Bean. Curtis later went on to direct the hit movie, Love Actually.

6. Mr. Bean debuted on stage in Canada before hitting the TV screen.

Rowan Atkinson decided to test out his new-and-improved character at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, Quebec. He even asked to perform for a French-speaking audience, because he felt it was the best way to see if the silent comedy would translate to other languages. Clearly, it did.

7. There were other vegetables considered for his name.

Originally, Mr. Bean was to be called Mr. Smith. Then, the show's creators started throwing around some vegetable ideas to see if they would work better. If it wasn't Mr. Bean, the show would have been called Mr. Cauliflower. Not quite the same ring.

8. Rowan Atkinson believes Mr. Bean is an anarchist.

Atkinson referred to his character as "sort of such a natural anarchist. But at the same time, Mr. Bean is a very, very self-contained character because he's so sort-of introspective and so selfish and self-centered that there's no particular need to have another person in the scene to make him funny."

9. He really CAN make his ears wiggle.

The legendary ear-wiggle in Mr Bean's Holiday was actually done by Atkinson himself! The actor says that he really can wiggle his ears like that, and it's not CGI.

10. Mr. Bean was an Olympic Performer.

Okay we actually all knew this. Mr. Bean made an appearance during the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics and to say it was anything less than legendary would be offensive.


11. Mr. Bean was officially retired in 2012.

Rowan Atkinson retired Mr. Bean in 2012. "The stuff that has been most commercially successful for me—basically quite physical, quite childish—I increasingly feel I'm going to do a lot less of," Atkinson said. "Apart from the fact that your physical ability starts to decline, I also think someone in their fifties being childlike becomes a little sad. You've got to be careful."

12. No one predicted Mr. Bean's success.

"I don't think anyone could have anticipated quite how successful and long-lived it would be. Coming up to 25 years is an extraordinary thought since we first went on air on January 1, 1990. Mr. Bean's been very good to us all, so we love Mr. Bean," said executive producer, Peter Bennett-Jones.

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