Rowan Atkinson : 12 Amazing Facts You May Not Have Known

Rowan Atkinson is one of Britain’s most famous comedy exports. He’s best known for his hilarious portrayal of Mr. Bean, but Atkinson has also been making us laugh for decades thanks to his performances in the Blackadder series, as well as his sketches on Not The Nine O’Clock News. The comedian and actor has also appeared in some popular big-budget movies, including Four Weddings And A Funeral and The Lion King.

To celebrate Rowan’s achievements in the world of entertainment, we’ve put together 12 fascinating facts that you might not have known about the Johnny English star. Scroll down below to find out how he saved his family from dying in a plane crash, plus we reveal his very unusual university degree. Enjoy!

Rowan Atkinson pulling a funny face

1. He has his very own HGV licence

Atkinson at a Johnny English premiere

We might be more used to seeing Atkinson clambering out of Mr Bean’s Mini or rolling up at red carpet events with luxury sports cars…but did you know that the comedian also has a valid HGV licence?! He put this skill to good use in the hilarious “I Like Trucking” song which first aired on Not The Nine O’Clock News.

2. He’s a petrol head and writes articles for CAR magazine

Atkinson with one of his luxury cars

Speaking of vehicles, Atkinson is a self-confessed petrol head. The comedian has a real passion for motors and even writes articles for CAR magazine so he can share this passion with others. However, there’s one car make that he will never own – a Porsche. The actor explained: “I have a problem with Porsches. They’re wonderful cars, but I know I could never live with one. Somehow, the typical Porsche people — and I wish them no ill — are not, I feel, my kind of people.”

3. He has a degree in electrical engineering

Atkinson as a university student

It seems crazy to think of Atkinson as anything other than a comedian and actor, but he actually got a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Newcastle University in 1974. He then went on to Queen’s College, Oxford and earned a Masters in the same subject. In fact, Atkinson had already begun doctoral work in this area when he decided to devote himself to comedy full-time.

4. He went to primary school with Tony Blair

Atkinson in primary school

Rowan Atkinson hails from Consett in the North East and went to the prestigious school Cathedral Chorister School in Durham. One of his fellow classmates was none other than future PM, Tony Blair, who was 2 years above him.

5. He’s good friends with Prince Charles and Camilla

Rowan atkinson talking to camille parker bowles

Atkinson definitely has some friends in high places! He’s actually one of the few celebrity guests who were invited to attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Knowles. Atkinson has also done a lot of charitable work for The Prince’s Trust, which might help explain the connection.

6. He was one of only 3 actors to appear in every series of Blackadder

Atkinson in Blackadder

Rowan Atkinson was actually one of only three actors who appeared in all four series of Blackadder, the others being Tony Robinson and Tim McInnerny.

7. He used his own Aston Martin in Johnny English

Atkinson's aston martin in johnny english

In Johnny English, Rowan Atkinson used his own Aston Martin DB7 Vantage in the film, a powerful – and expensive – car!

8. He has trouble pronouncing words with the letter ‘B’ in them

PIC 9 3 Rowan Atkinson : 12 Amazing Facts You May Not Have Known

When pronouncing words that start with the letter B in which the B is followed by a vowel, Atkinson has to pause before speaking them. This makes sense when he says things like, “Well then… Bob!” on screen.

9. Does Rowan Atkinson have a speaking disorder?

Atkinson as mr bean

Rowan Atkinson has actually suffered with a stammer for many years and this is why he gives very few interviews as he isn’t too keen on conversing with strangers as a result.

10. He wasn’t a fan of the first Blackadder series

Atkinson in the first blackadder

Atkinson was not a fan of the first Blackadder series, and he nearly pushed to have any future series cancelled – thank goodness he didn’t! The show went on to become one of Britain’s best-loved sitcoms.

11. He’s been in a number of different car accidents

Atkinson's aston martin car crash

In spite of the fact that Atkinson is a keen motor enthusiast, this passion clearly doesn’t make him a good driver and he has been involved in quite a few accidents, most notably in his McLaren F1! In July 2001, he crashed his Aston Martin V8 Zagato at an enthuasists’ meeting but managed to walk away without any serious injuries.

12. He saved his family from crashing in an airplane

Atkinson with his wife and one of his daughters

In 2001, Atkinson was travelling on a private plane with his family over Kenya, and the pilot passed out. Atkinson – who had never piloted a plane before – took control of the aircraft long enough for the pilot to come back round and land the plane at Wilson Airport, Nairobi. The plane had already begun to lose height before he saved his family. Scary!

Atkinson in johnny english

What is your favourite Rowan Atkinson character? Let us know all your thoughts about this comedy legend in the comments section!

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