Rowan Atkinson will look back on 30 years of Mr Bean in a new ITV documentary

Rowan Atkinson is set to return as one of his most iconic characters in a new ITV documentary called Happy Birthday Mr Bean.

The news was included in the ITV Christmas and Winter 2020/21 brochure, which outlines the network’s Christmas and early 2021 programming.

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ITV said, “With only 14 episodes ever made, explore the magic behind this hapless hero, who became a comedy icon that’s still making people laugh today.

“With classic clips and interviews from key creators, including Rowan Atkinson, we’ll hear how Mr Bean has gone on to become a global superstar with an animated series, two top grossing feature films and an online phenomenon, with more than 110 million online fans and growing.”

Who is Mr Bean?

Mr Bean was a character played by Rowan Atkinson between 1990 and 1995, with 15 episodes in total.

The sitcom, simply called Mr Bean, centres on Atkinson’s character as he goes about his day to day life, usually encountering humorous obstacles and situations on the way. Atkinson described Mr Bean as “a child in a man’s body,” and the series went on to receive widespread critical acclaim and huge TV audiences.

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One of the things that made the sitcom so accessible is that the show uses very little dialogue, making it available to people around the world who don’t speak English.

The Mr Bean series would then go on to have an animated series, two feature films called Bean (1997) and Mr Bean’s Holiday (2007), and two books that tied into the original live action series called Mr Bean’s Diary (1992) and Mr Bean’s Pocket Diary (1994).

What did Atkinson think of playing Mr Bean?

To celebrate the show’s 30 year anniversary earlier this year, Atkinson discussed what he believed to be the secret behind the show’s long lasting success.

He said, “Across all races and cultures, the behavior of children tends to be the same and so is easily identified and laughed at.”

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However, Atkinson revealed that he found filming the sitcom stressful, stating, “I’m sorry to say that I find all filming stressful but Mr Bean filming especially so, because of the burden of responsibility I feel to make it funny.

“Of course, you have support from other excellent actors but whether the jokes work or not tends to be down to me. And that’s stressful.”

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