Rowan Atkinson: I will never wave goodbye to Mr Bean

The Bean and Blackadder actor says he would never retire any of his comic characters, even when more "serious" roles come his way

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Turns out life really is better with Bean – Rowan Atkinson says he would never retire from playing the beloved Mr Bean.

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The Bean and Blackadder actor is set to star in a new adaptation of the classic Maigret crime thriller novels for ITV, but says that his move into “serious” drama doesn’t mean he’s about to quit on his comic creations.

“No, I don’t really have plans like that,” he said when asked in the new issue of Radio Times whether he would ever “retire” Mr Bean. 

“You go with the parts that are offered that inspire you,” he added. “I would never finally wave goodbye to any character – I feel as though I could still play him [Bean]. It’s just the emphasis tends to shift.”

Atkinson still voices the Mr Bean animated series, and performed as Bean in front of Buckingham Palace last year to celebrate 25 years since the character first appeared on British television.

As for Edmund Blackadder, Atkinson’s co-star Tony Robinson said last year that a new series of Blackadder was “on the cards”.

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The actor is now set to take on the role of French detective Inspector Jules Maigret (above) in ITV’s Maigret Sets a Trap, schedule to air on Easter Monday at 9pm.

The 1950s pipe-smoking detective is a far cry from Bean and Blackadder, but Atkinson emphasised that he did not choose the role because he wanted to be seen as a ‘serious actor’.

“The one thing I would never wish to be thought is that you play serious roles in order to achieve some kind of respectability, which you can’t get if you’re playing comedy,” he said.

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Read the full interview with Rowan Atkinson in this week’s Radio Times, available in shops and on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 22nd March