The type of Mr. Bean was developed while Atkinson was studying for his master's degree in electrical engineering at Queen's College, Oxford. A sketch featuring the smoothness was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in the early 1980s. A similar character called Robert Box, played by Atkinson himself, appeared within the one-off 1979 ITV sitcom Canned Laughter, which featured routines utilized in the film Bean (1997).
One among Bean's earliest appearances occurred at the "Just for Laughs" comedy festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1987. When programme co-ordinators were scheduling him into the festival programme, Atkinson insisted that they perform around the French-speaking bill rather than English-speaking programme. Having no French dialogue in his act whatsoever, programme co-ordinators could not realize why Atkinson wished to perform around the French bill instead. Mainly because it been found, Atkinson's act in the festival was obviously a test platform for that Mr. Bean character, and Atkinson wanted to find out how his character's physical comedy would fare with an international stage with a non-English speaking audience.
The character's name was not decided until following the first programme was produced; a great many other vegetable-influenced names, such as "Mr. Cauliflower", were explored. Atkinson cited the earlier comedy character Monsieur Hulot, produced by French comedian and director Jacques Tati, just as one influence on the smoothness. Stylistically, Mr. Bean can also be very like early silent films, relying purely upon physical comedy, with Mr. Bean speaking hardly any dialogue (although like other live-action Tv show of that time period, it possesses a laugh track). It has allowed the series to be removed worldwide without significant changes to dialogue. In November 2012, Atkinson told The Daily Telegraph of his intentions to retire the type, stating that "someone within their 50s being childlike becomes a little sad.