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Master. Bean

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Master. Bean

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Mr. Bean


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Mr. Bean is a British comedy television series of 14 half-hour episodes starring Rowan Atkinson as the title character. Different episodes were written by Rowan Atkinson, Robin Driscoll, Richard Curtis and one by Ben Elton. The self-titled first episode was broadcast on ITV on 1 January 1990, with the final episode, Hair by Mr. Bean of London, on 15 November 1995.
Based on a character developed by Rowan Atkinson at university, the series followed the exploits of Mr. Bean, described by Atkinson as "a child in a grown man's body",[1] in solving various problems presented by everyday tasks and often causing disruption in the process.
During its five year run the series gained large UK audience figures, including 18.74 million for the 1992 episode "The Trouble With Mr. Bean".[2] The series has been the recipient of a number of international awards, including the Rose d'Or, and has had an enduring effect on popular culture. The show has been sold in over 200 territories worldwide, and has inspired two feature films and an animated cartoon spin-off.[3]
Origins and influences
The character of Mr. Bean was first developed while Rowan Atkinson was studying for his MSc at Oxford University. A sketch featuring the character was being performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in the early 1980s.[4] A similar character called Robert Box, played by Atkinson, appeared in the one-off 1979 ITV sitcom Canned Laughter, which also featured a routine used in the film version.[5] In 1987, one of Mr. Bean's earliest appearances occurred at the "Just For Laughs" comedy festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. When program co-ordinators were scheduling Atkinson into the festival program, Atkinson insisted that he perform on the French-speaking bill rather than the English-speaking program. Having no French dialogue in his act at all, program co-ordinators could not understand why Atkinson wanted to perform on the French bill. As it turned out, Atkinson's act at the festival was a test platform for the Mr. Bean character and Atkinson wanted to see how the silent character's physical comedy would fare on an international stage with a non-English speaking audience.[6]
The name of the character was not decided after the first programme had been produced, with a number of other vegetable-influenced names, such as "Mr. Cauliflower", being explored.[7] Rowan Atkinson has cited the earlier comedy character Monsieur Hulot, created by French comedian and director Jacques Tati, as an influence on the character of Mr. Bean.[8] Stylistically, Mr. Bean is also very similar to early silent films, relying purely upon physical comedy, with Mr. Bean speaking very little dialogue. This has allowed the series to be sold worldwide without any significant changes to dialogue.[6][9]
Characters and recurring props
Mr. Bean
The title character, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a slow-witted, sometimes ingenious, selfish and generally likable buffoon who brings various unusual schemes and connivances to everyday tasks. He lives alone in his small flat in Highbury, North London, and is almost always seen in his trademark tweed jacket and skinny red tie. Mr. Bean rarely speaks, and when he does, it is generally only a few mumbled words which are in a comically low-pitched voice. His first name (he names himself "Bean" to others) and profession, if any, are never mentioned. Atkinson has said at the time of the first film's release that he imagines Bean's first name to be Julian, thus making Julian Bean a reference to famous guitarist and lutenist Julian Bream. He has been shown in the first episode to have a strong knowledge of trigonometry.[10] (In the first film adaptation, the 'name' "Mr." appears on his passport in the "first name" field, and he is shown employed as a guard at London's National Gallery. .[11] In Mr. Bean's Holiday, however, his name is listed on his passport as "Rowan".[12]) During the series (for example on the scorecard in "Tee Off, Mr. Bean") he also names himself as Mr. Bean. The sign in his trousers (seen in "Back To School, Mr. Bean") says "Bean (Mr.)"
Mr. Bean often seems unaware of basic aspects of the way the world works, and the programme usually features his attempts at what would normally be considered simple tasks, such as going swimming, using a television set, redecorating or going to church. The humour largely comes from his original (and often absurd) solutions to problems and his total disregard for others when solving them, his pettiness, and occasional malevolence.
At the beginning of episode two onwards, Mr. Bean falls from the sky in a beam of light, accompanied by a choir singing Ecce homo qui est faba ("Behold the man who is a bean "). These opening sequences were initially in black and white in episodes 2 and 3, and were intended by the producers to show his status as an "ordinary man cast into the spotlight". However, later episodes showed Mr. Bean dropping from the night sky in a deserted London street, against the backdrop of St. Paul's Cathedral suggesting Bean is an alien. Atkinson himself has acknowledged that Bean "has a slightly alien aspect to him";[13] in the animated series, he was actually shown to be an alien.
Teddy


Bean and Teddy
Teddy is Mr. Bean's teddy bear, generally regarded as Mr. Bean's best friend. The bear is a dark brown, knitted oddity with button eyes and sausage-shaped limbs, invariably ending up broken in half or in various other states of destruction and disfiguration. Although Teddy is inanimate, Bean occasionally pretends it is alive. For example, when Mr. Bean hypnotizes Teddy, he snaps his fingers and the bear's head falls backwards as if it has fallen asleep instantly (Bean used his finger to prop Teddy's head up). Bean behaves as if the bear is real, buying it a Christmas present or trying not to wake it in the mornings. The bear is often privy to Mr. Bean's various schemes and doubles as a good dish cloth or paint brush in an emergency; it has been decapitated ("Mr. Bean in Room 426") and shrunk in the wash ("Tee Off, Mr. Bean").
Over the years, Teddy has undergone several changes. When it debuted on "The Trouble with Mr. Bean", it had a smaller head. Two episodes later, its head reached its current size, but its "eye" wasn't present until Bean placed gold thumb tacks on its face. The "eyes" have since been replaced with two small white buttons sewn over Teddy's face, giving it a distinct image.
Car
Mr. Bean's car, a British Leyland Mini 1000, has developed a character of sorts. At first, an orange 1969 BMC Mini MK II (registration RNT 996H) was Mr. Bean's vehicle, but this was destroyed in an off-screen crash at the end of the first episode. From then on, the car was a 1977 model (registration SLW 287R), lime green with a black bonnet. It made its first appearance in "The Curse of Mr. Bean".


Mr. Bean's Mini.
The Mini was central to several antics, such as Mr. Bean getting dressed in it or driving while sitting in an armchair strapped to the roof. It also had a number of innovative security measures; Mr. Bean fitted the door with a bolt-latch and padlock, rather than using the lock fitted to the car, and removing the steering wheel instead of the key, which formed a running joke in several episodes, at one point deterring a car thief. The car, confused with another demonstration car of the exact same model and colours (but no padlock) (registration ACW 497V), which was crushed by a tank in "Back to School, Mr. Bean", but returned in later episodes, perhaps having actually been the identical demonstration car from that point on.
Mr. Bean has an apparently permanent feud with the driver of a light blue Reliant Regal Supervan III (registration GRA 26K), which will usually get turned over, crashed out of its parking space and so forth. This conflict originated in the first episode, when the Reliant's driver held the Mini up on the way to a mathematics exam, and subsequently became a running joke throughout the series.
One of the original Mr. Bean Minis is on display at the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Keswick, northern England.[14] Both the Mini and the Reliant re-appeared as characters in the animated Mr. Bean cartoons. In the film Mr. Bean's Holiday yet another Mini appears – a lighter yellow/green than the original, registration YGL 572T. Also seen is a left hand drive version of his Mini, owned by the character Sabine which wears a Paris. In the animated series, his Mini's registration plate number is STE 952R.
Irma Gobb


Matilda Ziegler's last appearance as Irma Gobb in Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean
Mr. Bean's "girlfriend" Irma Gobb, played by Matilda Ziegler, appeared in a number of episodes. She is treated relatively inconsiderately by Bean, who appears to regard her more as a friend and companion than a love interest. However, he does become jealous when she dances with another man at a disco in "Mr. Bean Goes to Town", and she certainly expects him to propose to her on Christmas Day in "Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean", with his failure to do so resulting in her leaving him for good (she does not appear in any subsequent episodes). The character later appeared in the animated series. The spin-off book Mr. Bean's Diary (1993) states that Mr. Bean met Irma Gobb at a local library.[15]
[edit] Other characters
Although Mr. Bean is the only significant human character in the programme, other characters appear, usually as foils for his various antics. Other than his girlfriend, Mr. Bean's only friends appear to be Hubert and Rupert, who appear as Bean's New Year's party guests in the episode "Do-It-Yourself, Mr. Bean" (although they altered his living room clock and fled to the party in the flat opposite, gaining real friends in the process) and Robin Driscoll appears in many episodes as various characters. However, several notable British actors and comedians appear alongside Atkinson in sketches as various one-off supporting characters, including Richard Briers, Angus Deayton, Nick Hancock, Paul Bown, Caroline Quentin, Danny La Rue, Roger Lloyd Pack, David Schneider and Richard Wilson.[16]
Production and broadcast
The programme was produced by Tiger Television, later renamed Tiger Aspect, for Thames Television from 1990 to 1992 and then for Central from 1993 to 1995. Rather than being shown as a series, each episode of Mr. Bean was produced individually, and broadcast at intermittent intervals on the ITV network in the United Kingdom across six years, often around New Year. The episode "Hair by Mr. Bean of London" has not been broadcast on ITV, but was instead reserved for video release. In the United States, the show became popular by being broadcast on HBO and many PBS stations across the country. After its original run it has been shown repeatedly on satellite channels such as Telemundo in the US, the CBC in Canada, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central Extra in the UK, Disney Channel in Asia, and internationally.[17]
The record selling UK videos were withdrawn shortly before the release of the Bean movie and DVDs were released on an annual basis as of 2004.
Episode guide
Main article: List of Mr. Bean episodes
Music
Mr. Bean features a choral theme tune written by Howard Goodall and performed by the Choir of Southwark Cathedral (later Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford). The words sung during the title sequences are in Latin:
• Ecce homo qui est faba – "Behold the man who is a bean" (sung at beginning)
• Finis partis primae – "End of part one" (sung before the advertisement break)
• Pars secunda – "Part two" (sung after the advertisement break)
• Vale homo qui est faba – "Farewell, man who is a bean" (sung at end)
The theme was later released on Goodall's album Choral Works. Goodall also wrote an accompanying music track for many episodes.
The Pars Secunda section was only featured in the DVD releases of Mr. Bean, and is not sung in the re-runs of Mr. Bean shown on television. Finis Partis Primae was only featured in episodes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 of Mr. Bean on television, although the DVD releases added the tune in several other episodes later on. And in episodes 7, 11,12 and 14, the closing song (Vale homo qui est faba)was played as an instrumental.
The first episode of Mr. Bean did not feature the choral theme tune, but instead an up-beat instrumental piece, also composed by Howard Goodall, which was more an incidental tune than a theme. It was used while Bean drove between locations intimidating the blue Reliant, and as such, was sometimes heard in later episodes whenever Bean's nemesis is seen.
In the episode "Tee Off, Mr. Bean" Howard Goodall's choral theme tune for another Richard Curtis comedy, The Vicar of Dibley, is heard playing on a car stereo. In Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean, while playing with Queen's Royal Guards figurines and the nativity set, he hums "The British Grenadiers", which was used as the theme to Blackadder Goes Forth.[18]
Mr. Bean appears in a music video made for the 1991 Comic Relief fund raising single by Hale and Pace called The Stonk.[19] Mr. Bean also appeared in the music video for Boyzone's single Picture Of You in 1997.[20] The song featured on the soundtrack to the first Bean movie.
Mr Bean also made a Comic relief record in 1992. This was (I want to be) Elected and was credited to "Mr Bean and Smear Campaign featuring Bruce Dickinson" This was a cover of an Alice Cooper song and reached number 9 in the UK singles chart.[21]
Awards
The first episode won the prestigious Golden Rose, as well as two other major prizes at the 1991 Rose d'Or Light Entertainment Festival in Montreux.[22] In the UK, the episode "The Curse of Mr. Bean" was nominated for a number of BAFTA awards; "Best Light Entertainment Programme" in 1991, "Best Comedy" (Programme or Series) in 1992, and Rowan Atkinson was nominated three times for "Best Light Entertainment Performance" in 1991, 1992 and 1994.[23] "Mr. Bean" also won the Norwegian comedy award "Tidleg Sædavgang".
Spin-offs
Mr. Bean The Ultimate Disaster Movie
Main article: Bean (film)
In 1997, Bean, a film version directed by Mel Smith, also known as Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie, was produced. This broke from the programme's tradition by using a subplot with more developed characters — instead of being the sole centre of attention, Mr. Bean here interacted with a suburban Californian family he stayed with while overseeing the transfer of Whistler's Mother to a Los Angeles art gallery. The movie grossed over USD$250 million globally on a budget estimated at $22 million.[24]
Mr. Bean's Holiday
Main article: Mr. Bean's Holiday
News broke in March 2005 that a second Bean film, Mr. Bean's Holiday was in development, with Atkinson returning in the title role. The film had been through several changes of name during its development, including Bean 2 and French Bean.[25] Filming began on May 15, 2006 and began post-production in October 2006. It was released in the UK on March 30 2007. On July 17, 2007, the North American premiere was held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, at the Just For Laughs festival; the launching pad for the Mr. Bean character 20 years earlier.[6] The film was then released nation-wide in North America on August 24, 2007.
The film followed the character on an eventful journey across France for a holiday in the French Riviera, which after a number of misfortunes culminates in an unscheduled screening of his video diary at the Cannes Film Festival. It was directed by Steve Bendelack and, according to Atkinson, is probably the last appearance of the character.[26]

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