Happy Birthday Mr Bean will see star Rowan Atkinson reveal how Coronation Street helped turn his sitcom into a huge success.

The programme, which starred the Blackadder actor as the title character, started in January 1990.

As luck would have it, the pilot landed in a prime slot – and aired just after the popular soap.

Read more: Denise Welch says her mum told her she’d ‘ruined’ Corrie by joining the cast

Rowan and the programme’s co-creator, Richard Curtis, explain how the timing gave the new comedy a nice boost in tonight’s ITV documentary about the show.

Mr Bean
Happy Birthday Mr Bean looks back on 30 years of the hit character and his various shows (ITV)

ITV aired the pilot for Mr Bean at 8pm on New Year’s Day, 1990.

Rowan says on Happy Birthday Mr Bean: “ITV were looking for one half-hour show to fill this one gap in the schedule and ours was the only one that seemed to be about.”

“It was just a complete fluke really that the first time it was shown was at 8 o’clock, immediately after Coronation Street. [Producers put it] in this prime spot.”

Curtis said: “When it was presented to the British public, it was so mainstream that it never occurred to people that what they were watching was a unique bit of genius by an irreplaceable comedian.”

Who was in the cast of Mr Bean?

The TV series aired from 1990 until 1995 and was a hit with viewers.

Mr Bean was the main character and it also featured his girlfriend Irma Gobb (Matilda Ziegler) and, of course, Mr Bean’s teddy bear.

There were a series of guest stars over the years, including Richard Briers, Angus Deayton and Caroline Quentin.

Happy Birthday Mr Bean (ITV)
Rowan Atkinson discusses the Mr Bean pilot in tonight’s Happy Birthday Mr Bean (ITV)

Roger Lloyd-Pack and Stephen Frost were also among those to film supporting performances in the sitcom over the years.

The series spawned spin-offs. These include as Mr Bean: The Animated Series, in which Rowan reprised his role, and the films Bean and Mr Bean’s Holiday.

What else has Rowan Atkinson been in?

Rowan also starred in Blackadder. Similrly, he has appeared in shows such as Not The Nine O’Clock News and The Thin Blue Line.

He is a veteran of the big screen. Rowan has starred in the Johnny English films, Four Weddings And A Funeral and Love Actually.

Read more: Delighted viewers in tears over Comic Relief’s Four Weddings reunion special

Rowan, 66, has even been in a James Bond film.

He played the character Small-Fawcett alongside Sean Connery in 1983’s Never Say Never Again.

– Happy Birthday Mr Bean airs tonight (Sunday, January 10) at 8pm on ITV

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