Happy Birthday Mr Bean

Rating 7.8
Streamer ITV Hub
Seasons 1
Episodes 1 x 60

Did you know that it has been 30 years since Mr Bean first aired on TV?

Even if silly, slapstick clownery is completely not your bag, few of us can resist Mr Bean’s bizarre charm. This is proven by the fact that the series had just 15 episodes, and yet Mr Bean, with his face of so much expression it looked to be made from modelling clay, is still an instantly recognisable and iconic comic figure in 2021.

This special is here to celebrate the brilliantly bizarre Mr Bean, reflecting on his most stitch-inducing moments – the diving board scene still has us in hysterics. But it was more than a ‘best bits’ showreel. We also got to see the notoriously private Rowan Atkinson, who discusses his perfectionism when it came to the character. He describes exhausting and tedious days of filming, with dozens of takes of him attempting to contort his features just in the right way. Plus, we hear from Richard Curtis, who with Atkinson developed the idea for Mr Bean whilst at Oxford University – he drops in the fun fact that the brilliant Four Weddings and a Funeral scene with floppy-haired Hugh Grant stuck in a wardrobe was an idea nicked from a potential Mr Bean script.

But the most surprising bit of information we got from the film was that Rowan Atkinson isn’t against the idea of making a few more episodes, and in fact had suggested a “grumpy old man Bean.”  If you ask us at Must, we’re all for it!

The critics lapped up this hour with Mr Bean – the Independent’s Sean O’Grady called it “a cosy celebration,” which is “worth watching for the rarity of Atkinson talking about his work.” Anita Singh in The Telegraph joined O’Grady in giving the show four stars, and says that after watching this, “Even if you loathe Mr Bean – and there are plenty who do – you can appreciate the work that went into it.” The Times’ Carol Midgely says that “you are unable to deny that [Mr Bean] is a work of genius,” and this, as we discover in this reflective programme, is largely thanks to Atkinson’s “perfectionism.”

First shown January 2021.

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