Mr Bean is one of the most recognisable characters in the world thanks to the TV show being shown in 245 territories, as well as its hugely successful big-screen adaptations.
But despite having fans in all corners of the globe, the show’s creator and star, Rowan Atkinson, has now admitted that he really doesn’t enjoy playing the “child in a grown man’s body”, describing it as “stressful and exhausting”.
With a new Mr Bean animated movie in the works, the actor says it’s easier to just provide the voice of the character.
He tells Radio Times: “We’re now in the foothills of developing an animated movie for Mr Bean – it’s easier for me to perform the character vocally than visually.
“I don’t much enjoy playing him. The weight of responsibility is not pleasant. I find it stressful and exhausting, and I look forward to the end of it.
“I don’t actually like the process of making anything – with the possible exception of Blackadder, because the responsibility for making that series funny was on many shoulders, not just mine.”
Rowan goes on to say that he’s never been surprised at the success of the Mr Bean TV show and films because “watching an adult behaving in a childish way without being remotely aware of his inappropriateness is fundamentally funny”.
He adds: “The fact the comedy is visual rather than verbal means it has been successful internationally, too.”
That international success includes countries where most other western comedy isn’t even shown.
“He actually has a disproportionately high following in Muslim countries and places with stricter creative regimes than our own,” Rowan points out.
“A more verbal comic would have difficulties avoiding subjects that offend those with greater sensitivities. But it doesn’t seem to be a problem for Mr Bean.”
Read the full interview with Rowan Atkinson in this week’s Radio Times, out now. www.radiotimes.com