British actor Rowan Atkinson, famous for playing the lovable bumpkin Mr. Bean and many other comedy roles in Blackadder and the Johnny English films, has celebrated the 25th anniversary of the character by taking Mr. Bean’s distinctive green and black Mini for a spin around central London, ITV News reports.
Atkinson, who still was able to effortlessly slip back into character even at the age of 60, took along the 1976 British Leyland Mini 1000 car for a celebratory ride through the roads around Buckingham Palace, the usual home of Queen Elizabeth II. Photographers snapped Atkinson at one point sitting on a drab grey armchair identical to the one featured in the Mr Bean series, which ran from 1990 to 1995 and warmed a nation’s heart to the bumbling and mumbling suit-clad man who went on adventures with his loyal companion, a teddy bear named Teddy. He also oddly enough was seen clutching a mop, one of his character’s ‘tools of the trade’.
Atkinson/Mr. Bean also presented a special cake in the shape of the numbers 25 to reporters outside the front gates of the Palace as part of the fun quarter-century stunt. The comedian also posed with a pyramid of gifts emblazoned with the number 25. His trusty little car got into the spirit too, its flanks marked with the hashtag #MrBean25.
He also recreated a sketch from the show’s episode ‘Do-It-Yourself Mr Bean’ which first aired on ITV in January 1994. In that scene, Mr Bean goes to do some shopping in the January sales and hilarity ensues when he lands himself some impressive bargains, namely the armchair, the mop, and several tins of paint. After tying the chair to the Mini’s roof, Mr. Bean stuffs the vehicle with the other things only to find that there was no space for him to get in.
In typical Mr Bean buffoonery, he figures out a way to drive the car remotely while sitting in the chair attached to the roof, surprisingly avoiding splattering himself all over the road while doing so.
Atkinson was said to have relished the chance to reprise the role, which he last reprised for television nearly a decade ago in films like Mr. Bean’s Holiday. His friend and travel companion Teddy, however, was just glad to get some sleep after tiring out during the fun journey.
The original Mr. Bean sitcom was created and written by Atkinson and Richard Curtis, from a character Atkinson first came up with while studying in the hallowed halls of Oxford University. Atkinson’s creation, famed for his impeccable taste in both suits and facial expressions, was described by the comedian as a ‘child in a grown man’s body’ whose laughs come from the mishaps with other people he always found himself every time he left his humble rented flat in Highbury, in a posh part of north London.
The show proved a ratings success, with one episode attracting 18.74 million viewers in 1991 and won a fleet of international awards. Mr. Bean has been sold in 245 countries and territories worldwide and made appearances in adverts and shows in places as diverse as Norway and Japan.
Mr Bean made his first appearance in 1987 on stage at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Legend had it that Atkinson opted to perform his character in front of the French-language audience at the Montreal festival, despite Atkinson not knowing French. Mr Bean’s wordless humour proved to stand the language barrier, and then his career went global. After the run of the original episodes was finished in 1995, the endearing buffoon ventured into animation and film before Atkinson announced he was ‘retiring’ Mr. Bean in 2012 as he felt being a man-child was a ‘bit sad’.
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“Mr Bean takes his mini for a royal spin for his 25th anniversary” – ITV News/ITV plc (4 September 2015) http://www.itv.com/news/2015-09-04/mr-bean-takes-his-mini-for-a-royal-spin-for-his-25th-anniversary/
“Mr. Bean” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Bean