The title character, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a slow-witted, sometimes ingenious, childishly selfish and generally likeable buffoon who brings various unusual schemes and connivances to everyday tasks. He lives alone in his small flat in Highbury, North London, and is almost always seen in his trademark tweed jacket and skinny red tie. Mr. Bean rarely speaks, and when he does it is generally only a few mumbled words. His first name (he names himself "Bean" to others) and profession, if any, are never mentioned, though he has been shown in the first episode to have a strong knowledge of trigonometry. (In the first film adaptation, on his passport "Mr." appears under the "first name" field and he is shown employed as a guard at London's National Gallery. In Mr. Bean's Holiday, "Rowan" is seen on his passport name field. In a Blind Date parody, when asked of his first name, he responds "Mr.")
Mr. Bean often seems unaware of basic aspects of the way the world works, and the programme usually features his attempts at what would normally be considered simple tasks, such as going swimming, redecorating or taking an exam. The humour largely comes from his original (and often absurd) solutions to any problems and his total disregard for others when solving them, his pettiness, and occasional malevolence.
At the beginning of episode two onwards, Mr. Bean falls from the sky in a beam of light, accompanied by a choir singing Ecce homo qui est faba - Behold the man who is a bean. These opening sequences were initially in black and white in episodes 2 and 3, and were intended by the producers to show his status as an "ordinary man cast into the spotlight". However, later episodes showed Mr. Bean dropping from the night sky in a deserted London street, against the backdrop of St. Paul's Cathedral; later, in the animated series, he was shown to be an alien. Atkinson himself has acknowledged that Bean "has a slightly alien aspect to him".