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 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", 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". The series has been the recipient of a number of international awards, including Rose d'Or. The show has been sold in 200 territories worldwide, and has inspired two feature films and an animated cartoon spin-off.
The character of Mr. Bean was developed while Atkinson was studying for his MSc at Oxford University. A sketch featuring the character was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in the early 1980s. A similar character called Robert Box, played by Atkinson, appeared in the one-off 1979 ITV sitcom Canned Laughter, which also featured routines used in the 1997 film Bean. In 1987, one of Mr. Bean's earliest appearances occurred at the "Just For Laughs" comedy festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. When programme 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.
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