Mr Bean: 25 facts and figures for his 25th anniversary
A quarter of century after he first appeared on TV, Rowan Atkinson's comedy character has accomplished world domination - and is still going strong...
They say actions speak louder than words, and that’s never been more true than in the case of a certain Mr Bean. After making his first appearance on UK TV screens back in 1990, Rowan Atkinson’s hapless man-child has gone on to wreak successful havoc in almost 200 countries around the world without ever uttering a complete sentence.
Along with his live action TV show, he’s become a YouTube sensation, starred in two feature films and is soon to return in a new run of Mr Bean: The Animated Series (from Monday 16th February at 9.55am on CITV).
So as Bean celebrates his 25th anniversary, here are 25 fascinating facts about the man who turned disaster into world domination…
1. Rowan Atkinson began working on the character of Mr Bean while studying for his master's degree in electrical engineering at Oxford university and tested out versions of the character at the Edinburgh festival and in a one-off ITV sitcom Canned Laughter in 1979
2. A important early outing for Mr Bean was at the 1987 Just for Laughs festival in Montreal in Quebec. Atkinson insisted on performing in front of a French-speaking audience to test out whether Mr Bean's physical comedy would appeal to an international audience
3. The Mr Bean TV series, which began three years later in 1990, was created by Atkinson and his Oxford alumnus Richard Curtis, who would go on to write classic romcoms like Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually
4. According to Atkinson, the character of Mr Bean was influenced by French silent comedy star Jacques Tati's Monsieur Hulot
5. Mr Bean was christened in 1989. Atkinson and Curtis worked their way through a long list of vegetables, before deciding on the humble bean...
6. Mr Bean's Christian name is unclear. It has been glimpsed as both "Mr" and "Rowan" in the first name section of his passport
7. Mr Bean lives at Flat 2, 12 Arbour Road in Highbury, north London. Sadly, it's not a real address, although there is an Arbour Road a few miles away in Enfield
8. Mr Bean is certainly something of a loner but he did have a girlfriend of sorts for a while. The delightfully named Irma Gobb appeared in only three episodes (including Merry Christmas Mr Bean, in which she was determined to extract a marriage proposal from her oddball boyfriend) but returned in the animated series
9. Women may come and go but Mr Bean's best friend and constant companion is Teddy, his stuffed bear. Mr Bean's treatment of Teddy can be a little confusing. On the one hand, he buys him Christmas presents and tries not to wake him when he's sleeping, on the other, he has inadvertently decapitated Teddy and deliberately used him as a paintbrush
10. Mr Bean's other best friend is his car. Like Teddy, Bean's beloved Mini has undergone some testing times. The original car, an orange 1969 BMC Mini MKII, was written off in a crash between filming while its replacement, a citron green 1976 Mini 1000, was crushed by a tank in the episode Back to School Mr Bean
11. Despite (or, more likely, because of) the destruction that accompanies him wherever he goes, Mr Bean has been a global success, with his 14 30-minute live action adventures sold to over 190 countries
12. At any given period over the last 25 years, Mr Bean was being broadcast somewhere in the world
13. Both the live and animated Mr Bean TV series are being broadcast to viewers in over 70 territories right now
14. Video sales have exceeded 35 million units – the equivalent of every single person in Canada owning a copy of Mr Bean – with DVDs currently available in over 35 territories around the world
15. Mr Bean made his big-screen debut in 1997 in Mr Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie
16. It is one of the highest-grossing UK films ever, having taken £166 million worldwide
17. Mr Bean’s Holiday hit cinemas ten years later in 2007, pulling in £156 million across 65 countries
18. In 2002, Mr Bean got a new look in his first animated series – but retained his unique sound thanks to the vocal talents of Rowan Atkinson
19. Thirteen years later, Mr Bean is back with more animated adventures in a new CITV series (starting on Monday 16th February)
21. He's even had literary success – published in 1993, Mr Bean’s Diary provides a rare insight into his unique mind and has sold over a million copies
22. Critics in other countries seem to have a better appreciation of Bean than they do in his native UK. He's the winner of the International Emmy in Popular Art Category, the Golden Rose of Montreaux, the Cable Ace Award and the BANFF World Media Festival Award but has never picked up a gong in Britain...
23. UK viewers think differently, of course – 19 million of them tuned in for Merry Christmas Mr Bean in 1992
24. It's safe to say Mr Bean really has taken off – he's been part of the in-flight entertainment on over 100 airlines
25. This could explain a lot: Mr Bean may not be of this world at all. The show's title sequence sees him descending from the sky in a beam of light, while at the end of two episodes, he is sucked back up by an unseen force. In a story in the animated series he is beamed aboard an alien spaceship to meet its inhabitants – who all look exactly like Mr Bean...