New Rowan Atkinson pics are released for Mr Bean 30th anniversary

New Rowan Atkinson pics are released for Mr Bean 30th anniversary

01/09/2021

Never-before-seen photos of a young Rowan Atkinson showing off his comic genius at the Edinburgh Festival are released to mark the 30th anniversary of Mr Bean

Thirty years after he first shambled onto our screens, Rowan Atkinson’s genius comic character Mr Bean is one of the world’s most recognised figures. 

During any hour of the day, the Bean TV shows and films are being watched in more than 200 countries – making it one of the most successful British exports ever. 

Now, new photographs have emerged for the first time which show the very earliest outings of Atkinson’s most famous creation which he has described as ‘a child in a grown man’s body’. 

The photographer and documentary maker Paul Yule was at Oxford University with Atkinson during the Seventies and captured his early comedy and acting brilliance. 

A series of photographs have emerged for the first time of one of Rowan Atkinson’s earliest outings as Mr Bean

Rowan Atkinson previously described his character, Mr Bean, as ‘a child in a grown man’s body’

Photographer and documentary maker Paul Yule was at Oxford University with Atkinson during the Seventies and captured his early comedy and acting brilliance

Yule, who has won an Emmy and Royal Television Society awards for his films, first met and photographed Atkinson in 1977 at the Edinburgh Festival where he was immediately struck by his extraordinary talent

During any hour of the day, the Bean TV shows and films are being watched in more than 200 countries

Yule, who has won an Emmy and Royal Television Society awards for his films, first met and photographed Atkinson in 1977 at the Edinburgh Festival where he was immediately struck by his extraordinary talent. 

‘It was obvious from the outset that Atkinson was a comic genius – and as soon as he began to collaborate with Richard Curtis [the British director famous for Four Weddings and a Funeral], word quickly spread about how extraordinarily gifted he was as a comic. 

The first episode of Mr Bean was aired on ITV in January 1990 as a stand-alone episode

‘It was almost as though Stan Laurel or Charlie Chaplin was amongst us,’ Yule recalled of his early contact with the stars at Oxford. 

For the next five or more years, he spent time on tour with Atkinson and in portrait sessions capturing ‘the magic of the transformation into his spectacular comic characters’, including the earliest incarnations of the rubbery-faced Mr Bean and Blackadder. 

The first episode of Mr Bean was aired on ITV in January 1990 as a stand-alone episode and a new documentary, Happy Birthday Mr Bean will be shown this weekend on ITV to celebrate the 30th anniversary. 

With classic clips and interviews from key creators, including Atkinson and Curtis, viewers will hear the story behind this iconic character, including how he was almost called Mr White and how a famous scene from Four Weddings and Funeral, written for Hugh Grant, was originally conceived to be a Mr. Bean sketch. 

Atkinson, in his first recorded TV interview in many years, is candid about the pressures of playing and filming this iconic character. 

According to him, the character of Mr Bean was influenced by French silent comedy star Jacques Tati’s Monsieur Hulot who starred in a series of films, including Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday. 

Paul Yule said it was obvious from very early on that Rowan Atkinson was a ‘comic genius’

According to Rowan Atkinson,Mr Bean was influenced by French silent comedy star Jacques Tati’s Monsieur Hulot who starred in a series of films, including Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday

Mainly, however, Bean was the result of years of the comic studying himself, with Yule’s photographs capturing the flowering of the eventual comic masterpiece. 

As well as 14 award-winning episodes, Mr Bean has spawned two top grossing feature films, three animated series, 11 billion views online and 150 million followers on social media. 

In his book, The Emerging Genius of Rowan Atkinson, Yule includes the star’s early scripts with notes in his hand, as well as photographs of other talents in the Oxford circle who went on to become household names, such as Angus Deayton, and Helen Fielding, who wrote the Bridget Jones series. 

More of this collection and other pictures can be viewed on instagram paul_yule or www.paulyule.com

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