Educated at Newcastle and Oxford Universities, Rowan Atkinson first attracted wide critical notice at the Edinburgh Festival in 1977. His first foray into television was as a founding member of the ’Not the Nine O’clock News’ team – the International Emmy and British Academy Award winning series for the BBC.
In 1981 Rowan became the youngest performer to have a one-man show in London’s West End – the sell-out season at the Globe Theatre won him the Society of West End Theatre’s Award for Comedy Performance of the Year. In 1983 Rowan embarked with writer Richard Curtis on their situation tragedy ’Blackadder’ for the BBC. Over the ensuing five years the four series won three British Academy Awards, an International Emmy, three ACE awards and personal awards for Rowan’s performance, including Best Entertainment Performance. Once again Rowan was voted BBC Personality of the Year.
Rowan’s most famous character, Mr Bean first emerged from his stage shows in the 1980’s. Collaborating with Richard Curtis and Robin Driscoll, Mr Bean was developed into a television series in 1990, the most successful television series of the decade. Mr Bean has also been transformed into an animated series and two feature films which Rowan co-produced – Bean the Ultimate Disaster Movie (1997) and Mr Bean’s Holiday (2007).
Rowan has appeared in a number of highly successful documentary programmes on subjects ranging from comedy to the motor car (his passion) and was the lead role in the two series of Tiger Aspect’s number one rating, situation comedy The Thin Blue Line (1995-1996). His film credits include Never Say Never Again, The Tall Guy, The Witches, Hot Shots – Part Deux, Four Weddings and a Funeral, the voice of Zazu in The Lion King,Johnny English, Love Actually (directed by Richard Curtis) and Keeping Mum, opposite Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas.