Mr Bean – Background and influences
Production and Concept
Mr. Bean is the title of the famous British sitcom that was created by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, who also plays the role of Mr. Bean. Atkinson has also co-written all the episodes with either Richard Curtis or Robin Driscoll. The pilot was co-written by Ben Elton. A total of fifteen episodes has been telecasted. Thirteen episodes were broadcasted on ITV over the course of five years, from 1990 to 1995. Apart from that, a clip show titled “The Best Bits of Mr. Bean” was also broadcasted on 15th December 1995.
The character was created by Atkinson himself as he was studying for his Masters at Oxford University. A sketch based on the character was also performed in the early 1980s at the Edinburg Fringe. Rowan Atkinson portrayed a similar character named Robert Box in the one-off ITV sitcom Canned Laughter, back in 1979. The show features routines that are also used in the feature film Bean.
The series focuses on the exploits of Mr. Bean, who is like a child stuck in a grown man’s body. The episodes focus mainly on Mr. Bean solving problems created by everyday tasks. Although Mr. Bean rarely speaks, the series relies mostly on physical humor derived from his unusual solutions to situations and his everyday interactions with other people. The series is heavily influenced by physical comedians such as Jacques Tati and Charlie Chaplin.
The character name was not finalized until after the first program had been produced. Several other vegetable-influenced names were considered such as Mr. Cauliflower.
Success and Accolades
During its run, the series has gained a huge audience and widespread popularity. The highest audience figure achieved by Mr. Bean is 18.75 million for the episode Trouble with Mr. Bean, which aired back in 1991. The series has also received several accolades and awards such as Rose d’Or.
The show has been sold in up to 245 territories all around the world. An animated cartoon spin-off based on the show has also achieved success. It has also inspired two feature films as well as an appearance at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. Due to the focus on physical comedy that doesn’t involve much dialogue, the series has sold worldwide without requiring any translation.
Mr. Bean and Teddy
The character of Mr. Bean is a childish buffoon who is known for bringing unusual schemes and solutions to everyday tasks. He lives alone and is almost always wearing his tweed jacket with a skinny red tie. He rarely speaks but when he does, it is mostly mumbled words in a low pitched voice.
Mr. Bean mostly seems unaware of the basic concepts of how the world works and the show mostly features him coming up with unusual solutions for simple tasks such as swimming, redecorating or going to the church. Mr. Bean’s best friend is considered to be his teddy bear. He simply refers to him as Teddy. The little brown bear is often part of Mr. Bean’s adventures and often ends up disfigured.