Mr. Bean is a British comedy television programme series of 14 twenty-five-minute episodes written by and starring Rowan Atkinson as the title character. Based on a character originally developed by Atkinson while he was studying for his master's degree at Oxford 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 humor of the series is derived from his interactions with other people and his unusual solutions to situations.
The title character, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a childish and self-centered buffoon who brings various unusual schemes and contrivances to everyday tasks. He lives alone in his small flat in Highbury, and is almost always seen in his trademark tweed jacket and a skinny red tie. He also usually wears a digital calculator watch. 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", the actor's first name.
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 humor 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.
The first episode of the original Mr. Bean series starring Rowan Atkinson was first broadcast on 1st January 1990. Since then Mr. Bean has become known all over the world. Created by Rowan Atkinson, Richard Curtis and Robin Driscoll, there were only 14 episodes ever made.
The original series emerged from Rowan Atkinson's stage revues of the 1980's which featured the silent odd-ball. Rowan Atkinson's comic acting genius has created a highly original work for television. The Mr. Bean series has been sold to 190 territories worldwide and has won an International Emmy and the Golden Rose of Montreux.
In 2002 the character was transformed into an animated series of 26 half hour episodes. The series remains entirely faithful to the original Mr. Bean, with the character still living very much in the real world. Rowan Atkinson provides all of Mr. Bean's vocal sounds.
The Animated Series has heralded a new era for one of the UK's most successful characters of all time. Rowan Atkinson worked on the transformation to animated character and acted out every episode in front of the cameras so that the animators could capture the unique movement of Britain's most infamous character.
Characters from the original live action series included Mr. Bean, Irma Gobb, Teddy, and the mysterious driver of the Reliant Supervan, with the new addition of Mrs. Wicket, Bean's landlady, and her evil cat Scrapper.
The series again featured little actual dialogue, with most being either little sound bites or mumbling and mild slapstick. Rowan Atkinson provided the voice for Bean; additionally, all of the animated Bean actions are taken from Atkinson himself.
Like the live action series, there isn't much talking. But I think it's wonderful that Rowan Atkinson supplies what mumblings there is for Mr. Bean. And you've got to love his horrid landlady Mrs.Wicket when she yells "BEAN" at the top of her lungs. (She makes him do all the house and yard work and her grocery shopping; does she give him a break on the rent?!) The plots are terrific.
The animation style is brilliant. Very refreshing. Kind of a retro style with regards to the simplified backgrounds. Really nice colors. The trees are like the ones in Looney Tunes or Pink Panther cartoons. The characters are superbly drawn, capturing the rubbery facial expressions of Rowan Atkinson. I like the heavy outlines on the characters to set them off from the backgrounds, and I find it amusing that their feet aren't attached to their legs, lol.
Mr. Bean features a choral theme tune written by Howard Goodall and performed by the Choir of Southwark Cathedral (later Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford).
- Ecce homo qui est faba – "Behold the man who is a bean" (sung at beginning)
- Finis partis primae – "End of part one" (sung before the advertisement break)
- Pars secunda – "Part two" (sung after the advertisement break)
- Vale homo qui est faba – "Farewell, man who is a bean" (sung at end)
Mr Bean featured in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics playing the Chariots of Fire theme (by Vangelis) with the London Sympony Orchestra. The arrangement for the event was by Howard Goodall.
Ecce homo qui est faba