But did you know Atkinson actually started developing Bean well over a decade before he debuted on television in 1990? This idea of a man-child with a unique way of looking at the world came to Rowan when he was an electrical engineering student at the University of Oxford. He honed the character in front of audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe and comedy festivals in places like Montreal.
Along with frequent collaborator and brilliant comedy writer and director, Richard Curtis, a series of thirteen half-hour Mr. Bean episodes were eventually produced that ran from 1990 to 1995.
In addition, Atkinson has returned to his role as Bean over the years to perform sketches which benefit his friend Curtis’ charity, Comic Relief. His most recent appearance was just this past Red Nose Day in March 2015 despite Rowan announcing his intention to retire Mr. Bean as a character back in 2012.
Though Mr. Bean’s future may be a bit precarious, we can still go back and look at the simplistic genius of a basically silent character who relies on the universal appeal of physical comedy to make us laugh. The following clips all originate from the second installment of the series entitled ‘The Return of Mr. Bean’ which first aired on this day exactly twenty-five years ago. Enjoy!
Mr. Bean goes shopping at a department store with his new credit card:
Bean goes out for his birthday dinner and makes a “rare” error when ordering:
Mr. Bean meets the Queen:
What is your favorite Mr. Bean sketch? Please share the Bean love with us in the comments section below!