Mr. BeanThe title character, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a slow-witted and selfish yet likeable buffoon who brings various unusual schemes and contrivances 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 a skinny red tie. He also usually wears a digital calculator watch (which he does not like to lose). 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. In the first film adaptation, "Mr." appears on his passport in the "first name" field, and he is shown employed as a guard at London's National Gallery. In Mr. Bean's Holiday, however, his name is listed on his passport as "Rowan".
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. At the end of episodes 3 and 6 he is also shown being sucked right back up into the sky in the respective background scenes (black scene in episode 3 and street scene in episode 6). Atkinson himself has acknowledged that Bean "has a slightly alien aspect to him"; in the animated series, he was actually shown to be an extraterrestrial.
Teddy is Mr. Bean's teddy bear, perhaps 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, Mr. Bean often 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). Mr. 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 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"). Teddy is also Mr. Bean's "pet" in "Hair by Mr. Bean of London" and is used to win a pet show. The Teddy that was used in filming sits in the windshield of the replica of Mr. Bean's mini that is on display at the National Motor Museum.
Mr. Bean's car
Mr. Bean's car, a British Leyland Mini 1000, developed a character of sorts over the series and was central to several antics, such as Mr. Bean getting dressed in it, driving while sitting in an armchair strapped to the roof or attempting to avoid a parking garage toll by driving out through the entrance.
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 1985 model (registration SLW 287R), "Applejack" green with a matt black bonnet. It made its first appearance in "The Curse of Mr. Bean".
The Mini also had a number of innovative security measures, for example Bean uses a bolt-latch and padlock, rather than the lock fitted to the car, and removes the steering wheel instead of the key. These formed a running joke in several episodes, at one point deterring a car thief. The car, confused with another demonstration car of exactly the same model and colours (but no padlock) (registration ACW 497V), 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 a long-running, yet unexplained feud with the unseen 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.
Both the Mini and the Reliant re-appeared as characters in the animated Mr. Bean cartoons, and in the film Mr. Bean's Holiday, yet another Mini appears – a lighter yellow/green than the original with a black sunroof, registration YGL 572T. Also seen is a left hand drive version of his Mini, owned by the character Sabine which has a French registration. A sequence involving the Mini driving through Harrod's was shot for the 1997 film, but ultimately was not included in the final cut.
After filming ended, the present Mini used in filming was sold to Kariker Kars to be hired for various events. It was then temporarily displayed as a major attraction at the Rover groups museum. In 1997, it was purchased by the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum where it is still on display today.
One of the original Mr. Bean Minis is on display at the Cars of the Star Motor Museum in Keswick, northern England. 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 French version of his Mini, owned by the character Sabine which wears a Paris registration and is left hand drive. In the animated series, his Mini's registration plate number is STE 952
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.