Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean

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"Merry Christmas Mr. Bean"
Mr. Bean episode
Merry Christmas Mr. Bean.jpg
Episode no.Episode 7
Directed byJohn Birkin
Written byRobin Driscoll
Richard Curtis
Rowan Atkinson
Produced bySue Vertue
Original air date29 December 1992 (1992-December-29)
Running time26:27
AwardsCableACE Award Best Comedy Special[1][2]
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Mr. Bean Rides Again"
Next →
"Mr. Bean in Room 426"
List of Mr. Bean episodes

"Merry Christmas Mr. Bean" is the seventh episode of the British television series Mr. Bean, produced by Tiger Television for Thames Television.[3][4] It was first broadcast as a Christmas special on ITV on Tuesday 29 December 1992[5] as part of ITV's Christmas schedule and was watched by 18.48 million viewers during its original transmission.

This was the last episode to be co-written by Richard Curtis and the last to be broadcast by Thames Television on behalf of the ITV network. It also marks the last appearance of Mr. Bean's girlfriend, Irma Gobb (Matilda Ziegler) in the original television series until reappearing on Mr. Bean: The Animated Series eleven years later.

Plot[edit]

Act 1: Christmas Shopping[edit]

Seeking to prepare for the big day, Mr. Bean ventures into town on Christmas Eve and visits Harrods to buy some Christmas decorations, continuing his trend of behaving inappropriately in such a prestigious department store. After parking directly at the front of the store, and harassing a man dressed as Santa Claus by plucking on his false beard[6], Bean proceeds to test two different types of baubles, going with one that bounces off the ground (after the other one simply smashes on the floor). He then looks to test out some Christmas lights, and managing to get into a storeroom while an employee is busy dealing with a customer, tries it out on a socket being used for the store's exterior lights, plunging the entire exterior of the store into darkness in the process.

As the employee sorts out his purchases, Bean spots the shop's Nativity scene display and performs a creative yet inaccurate story by playing around with it and some nearby toys, first by making some of the figurines shush anything that could wake the baby Jesus, having a shepherd figurine round up some toy sheep, and then having two toy tanks and a toy Dalek battle with a toy Tyrannosaurus rex, eventually having the little baby Jesus figurine airlifted by an angel attached to a magnet hanging down from a toy helicopter to the bedroom of a doll house alongside his parents' figurines. His fun is soon disrupted by the store manager - introducing a toy policeman into the Nativity scene to halt proceedings - who hands him his purchases and watches as Bean leaves the shop.

Following his fun, Bean heads to a local Christmas market, where he meets up with his girlfriend, Irma Gobb, and is dragged to the shop window of a jeweller's, whereupon she tries to give him the message that she wants a sparkly ring in the display by pointing to a portrait of a couple getting engaged. Bean nods to her in agreement (albeit expressing disgust when she kisses him on the cheek), and heads into the shop, much to Irma's delight. After buying something from the jeweller, Bean spots another man dressed as Father Christmas, and proceeds to pluck on his beard, only to find it was indeed real, prompting him to make a quick exit while the man recovers.

Afterwards, Bean volunteers to help the conductor of a Salvation Army brass band performing "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen" at the market collect money in his bucket; in doing so, he catches a young pickpocket with a wallet in his hand and forces him to surrender all the items he stole, include cash and jewellery (notably, Bean retrieves a ring the boy hid in his mouth by smacking him on the head). Bringing these to the conductor, who secretly decides to check out what he brought back (implying that he is greedily stealing the goods rather than donating them), Bean finds himself conducting the band, and has some fun with them, before having them conduct the same song with an upbeat, jazzy feel to it, earning a big round of applause from the crowd. With the conductor now back, Bean attempts to buy a Christmas tree from a stand, only to get to the stand just as the last two trees are bought. Frustrated and wanting a tree, he cuts down the market's large tree and attaches it to the roof of his Mini and drives home with it, with everybody at the market oblivious to the theft.

Act 2: Christmas Eve[edit]

Back at his flat, Bean leans out his window and pushes the rest away upon having set up his stolen Christmas tree with his new lights and his bauble, letting it crash onto the street below. He then sets up three stockings in the room – one for Teddy, one for himself and one for a tiny mouse living in a hole behind some furniture – before writing a few cards (all of the same design) and sealing them in envelopes, then stepping outside and posting them to himself. Satisfied with his decoration, Bean searches a cupboard for some Christmas crackers, but is underwhelmed by the lack of a loud pop from one, and so decides to take out the fuses of the other crackers and stuff them all into one to make a "super cracker".

Warming up his flat with a fire, enjoying a box of chocolates and drinking a glass of sherry, Bean tries to find something good to watch on TV but only finds war and horror shows. As he turns his TV off, he hears muffled singing coming from his door, whereupon opening it he finds a small group of young carol singers performing "Away in a Manger". Deciding to watch them perform from his seat as if he was watching TV, Bean soon becomes bored and rudely shuts the door on them just as they finish the song before heading for bed.

Act 3: Christmas Day[edit]

The following morning, Bean wakes up excited to the fact it is Christmas morning, and proceeds to check the stockings – his turns out to be a sock of his filled with the other; Teddy's turns out to contain a tin that holds a pair of button eyes within; the mouse's turns out to have a piece of cheese that Bean immediately places onto a mousetrap.

Bean soon gets to work in the kitchen on preparing the large turkey he won at the market, but while stuffing it, his watch comes off and gets lost inside. Unable to find it, Bean sticks his head into the turkey, whereupon he finds himself unable to pull it off just as Irma arrives. After attempting to cover up his predicament from his girlfriend, Irma eventually helps him to remove it allowing Bean to recover his watch but at the cost of the turkey as it is accidentally thrown out of the window in the process.

With the turkey gone, Bean and Irma instead eat cranberry sauce sandwiches along with carrot slices for dinner, whereupon Irma refuses to give Bean his present until she gets a Christmas kiss, only for him to outsmart her and rudely snatch it, ignoring her anger as he finds it to be a model ship. Realizing he is being forgetful, Bean produces Irma with her present, only for her excitement to turn into confusion and disappointment when he reveals that he bought her the portrait in the jeweler's display, believing it to be what she really wanted. Seeing her crying, he reveals that he "forgot the main bit", and produces a ring box, which she finds not to contain the ring she wanted, but merely a hook for holding the portrait. An upset Irma angrily storms out of the flat, leaving Bean puzzled and muttering to himself "What was wrong with it?" Realizing that she cannot pull his super cracker with him, he decides to do it himself, saying "Merry Christmas" to himself crestfallenly. As he does so, the act cuts to a view of his window from the street, along with a banging sound and a sudden white flash.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Most of the location scenes - set in a market - were shot on videotape in Kingston. Studio sequences were recorded before a live audience at Thames Television's Teddington Studios. Following its broadcast on American cable television network HBO, this episode won the 1995 CableACE award for best comedy special.[1][2]

A scene for this episode was cut out for broadcast but retained in the retail version[clarify]. In the scene, Bean participates in a "guess the weight" competition, with the large turkey from the episode, being the prize, and cheats to win it by using a hidden set of scales below the counter for the competition, alongside a calculator, whereupon the turkey is thrown into the boot of his Mini once he wins it. For unknown reasons, the A&E DVD release (distributed in the US by New Video) does not contain this scene.

A number of elements were used as inspiration for other programs. The 'lights on a well known building being accidentally switched off' gag is used by comedian Peter Kay at the end of his Live at the Top of the Tower DVD, while the turkey scene was inspired for a scene in an episode of Friends titled "The One with All the Thanksgivings", and later led to an adaptation for the film Bean, though it was cut out of the international release (outside North America) and reserved for a special feature section entitled "Bean Scenes Unseen".[7] Another turkey gag was used in the Mr. Bean: The Animated Series episode "Dinner for Two".

During the nativity scene, Bean includes a number of military figures. He introduces them while humming the theme tune to Blackadder Goes Forth, another sitcom Rowan Atkinson starred in.

Deleted scene[edit]

The retail version[clarify] of this episode includes an extra scene where Bean attempts to win the turkey he eventually ended up wearing on his head. The contest being to guess the turkey's weight, he sneaks a pair of scales to the counter; having already weighed himself, he subtracts his weight from the combined weight using a Casio calculator. The person in charge of the contest is shocked when Bean guesses the exact weight (to three decimal places) and wins it. The A&E DVD release (distributed in the US by New Video) is missing this scene.

Censorship[edit]

The scene where Mr Bean buys the turkey was removed from broadcasts on ABS-CBN and Disney Channel (Southeast Asia). The scene where Irma Gobb helps Mr. Bean to get the turkey off was also edited out when broadcast on Nickelodeon UK.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "HBO Takes Bulk of Prizes at the CableACE Awards". Los Angeles Times. 16 January 1995. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Awards". tigeraspect. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Timeline". mrbean.co.uk. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  4. ^ Chris Perry (3 February 2016). The Kaleidoscope British Christmas Television Guide 1937-2013. pp. 386–. ISBN 978-1-900203-60-9.
  5. ^ "Timeline". mrbean.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  6. ^ Stephen Greenfield (22 November 2008). We Wish You a Retro Christmas. pp. 49–. ISBN 978-1-4092-4675-6. Merry Christmas Mr. Bean The bumbling but lovable creation of Rowan Atkinson first appeared in 1990. Merry Christmas Mr. Bean first aired on the 29th of December 1992. This festive episode starts with Mr. Bean visiting Harrods to purchase ...
  7. ^ "Bean Scenes Unseen". You Tube. Retrieved 24 January 2018.

External links[edit]