Rowan Atkinson - things you didn't know about the Mr Bean star

Rowan Atkinson in a cream suit at the races
(Image credit: PA)

He went to school with Tony Blair!

Rowan Atkinson is loved across the globe for his roles as Mr Bean, Johnny English and Edmund Blackadder.

But how much do you know about the hugely popular star, whose credits also include Not the Nine O'Clock News and Four Weddings and A Funeral?

Most fans of the comedy actor will know that:

But what else do we know about Rowan Atkinson? Here are several things you probably don't know...

Rowan Atkinson was in a James Bond film!

Rowan Atkinson promoting Johnny English on the red carpet

Rowan Atkinson is well known as spoof spy Johnny English but he actually was in a real Bond movie (credit PA) (Image credit: PA)

The well-loved entertainer is acclaimed for starring in the James Bond parody series Johnny English, but he was in an actual James Bond movie! Yep, as a young actor Rowan won the part of Nigel Small-Fawcett opposite Sean Connery’s 007 in Never Say Never Again (1983).

He once told The One Show: “It felt like an extraordinary thing, I think it was the first proper film that I had ever made and there I was in first class in a British Airways flight on my way to shoot a Bond movie in the Bahamas at the age of 27 or whatever I was.”

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He has a connection to Snoop Dogg!

It may seem unlikely to have Rowan Atkinson and Snoop Dogg in the same sentence, but the pair do have a link! Back in 2018 Rowan appeared in the Olly Murs pop video Moves which Olly did in collaboration with the American rapper. He pops up as a barman during the song.

Rowan Atkinson went to school with Tony Blair

Rowan, the youngest of four brothers, went to Durham Choristers School. And there at the same time as him was none other than future Prime Minister Tony Blair!

Rowan almost played Mr Cauliflower!

Mr Bean celebrating his 25th annivesary outside Buckingham Palace

Mr Bean could have been Mr Cauliflower! Not quite the same, is it?! (credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment) (Image credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment)

Everyone knows Mr Bean, but Rowan while chatting to Lorraine Kelly said that both Mr Cauliflower and Mr Cabbage were also considered as possible names. So, why did they go with Mr Bean? “Bean is short, sharp and to the point,” explained Rowan.

He studied electrical engineering

Rowan went to the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where he studied electrical engineering. He then continued his studies at Queen’s College, Oxford. While at university Rowan met writer Richard Curtis, who he’d most famously later work with on Blackadder.

Blackadder with Baldrick in Blackadder Goes Forth

Rowan Atkinson as Captain Edmund Blackadder with Tony Robinson as Private Baldrick (credit: PA) (Image credit: PA)

Rowan learnt to drive a lorry

Back in the 1980s Rowan decided to get a HGV licence because he liked driving lorries. He once told The Yorkshire Evening Post: “I am not really sure why I like driving lorries. I just get enormous pleasure doing it. It’s something to fall back on if it all goes wrong.”

He went to the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William

Rowan was among a huge number of high profile names who attended Kate and William’s wedding in 2011. He was listed on the official guest list as a “close friend” of Prince Charles. Other famous names on the nearly 2,000 strong guest list included David Beckham and Elton John.

Rowan Atkinson's Fact File 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the star....

How old is he?

Rowan Atkinson is 65. He was born on 6th January, 1955.

Is he in a relationship?

Rowan Atkinson's partner is actress Louise Ford, who plays Kate in The Windsors.

Does he have kids?

Rowan Atkinson has two children, Ben and Lily, with his former wife Sunetra Sastry. Rowan has a third child, Isla, with Louise.

Where was he born?

Rowan Atkinson was born in Consett, County Durham.

How tall is he?

Rowan Atkinson is 1.81 metres tall.

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!