Lunch in the Park: “The Curse of Mr. Bean” is the third episode of the British television series Mr. Bean, produced by Tiger Television for Thames Television. It was first broadcast on ITV on 30 December 1990 and was watched by 13.8 million viewers during its original transmission. It won the 1991 International Emmy Award for Outstanding Popular Arts Programme.

Act 2: Lunch in the Park

Heading for the park for lunch, Bean greets a man who is also having lunch while sitting on a bench. Spotting him having a sandwich, Bean sets about making his own using ingredients and tools he stuffed into his coat. He cuts two slices of bread from a loaf with scissors, spreads butter on them with his credit card, washes lettuce under a drinking fountain’s water before using his sock to dry it, kills two sardines he takes out of a jar and then crushes peppercorns folded into a handkerchief using his shoe in “Lunch in the Park”.

After making his sandwich, Bean notices the man sipping some tea, and prepares to make his own using a hot water bottle, putting a teabag into it while placing the bottle’s cap in his ear. He then proceeds to suck up milk from a baby bottle and spit it into the water in the hot water bottle, before sloshing it together.

As he prepares to have his lunch, he ties his handkerchief around his neck, opting to use it as a napkin, only for the pepper traces on it to cause him to sneeze, making him drop his sandwich onto the ground and spray his tea all over himself, ruining his own lunch. The man, witnessing this, offers Bean the other half of his pre-packed sandwich as replacement, much to Bean’s gratitude as the cap pops out of his ear in “Lunch in the Park”.

Lunch in the Park Cast

  • Rowan Atkinson − Mr. Bean
  • Angus Deayton – pool attendant; man on the park bench
  • Matilda Ziegler – Irma Gobb (The Girlfriend)

Lunch in the Park Production notes

The swimming pool sequence was filmed entirely at the Hayes Pool and Fitness Centre (closed as of May 2010) with the car park sequences at the Heathrow Bowling car park and the short traffic lights scene in Feltham (close to the Hayes pool centre). This was the last episode to be produced with an OB unit. Studio sequences were recorded before a live audience at Thames Television’s Teddington Studios. This also marked the first appearance of Bean’s 1977 Leyland Mini 1000.

The Curse of Mr Bean went onto win the 1991 International Emmy Award for Outstanding Popular Arts Programme.

Scenes from this episode later inspired the storylines of episodes from Mr. Bean: The Animated Series:

  • The car park sequence in Act 1 inspired the episodes No Parking and Car Wars.
  • Act 3 inspired the episode Scaredy Bean.

Censorship

The scene from Act 1 where Mr. Bean accidentally exposes himself to a group of female swimmers was cut on broadcasts on the Philippine network ABS-CBN, Nickelodeon UK and Disney Channel.

Lunch in the Park Behind the scenes

  • Reliant gags – Mr. Bean charges towards the entrance barrier when the driver of the Supervan takes a ticket, and, in the end, topples over.
  • The shot in which Mr. Bean’s car begins accelerating towards the car park entrance lane once the barrier is opened is a reference to the movie Christine; the second horror movie reference in the episode. This same scene is re-created in the animated series episode, Car Wars, except the roles are reversed in the animated version.
  • The horror movie that Mr. Bean goes to see appears to be called A Nightmare, but the poster shown is obviously for A Nightmare on Elm Street with the camera placed to cut off the last three words – although an obvious picture of Freddy Krueger is shown. In spite of this, the implied events in the film do not match any of the Elm Street films.
  • There is a reference to Evil Dead II, when Mr. Bean scares Irma by pretending to use a chainsaw to cut off his hand.
  • Act Four inspires one episode of the animated series called “Scaredy Bean”.
  • The scene where naked Mr. Bean accidentally exposes himself to the female swimmers was cut in Nickelodeon airings in the UK and in Disney Channel Asia and was been frozen in former Philippine airings, with the shot later cropped in future airings.
    • This makes the first episode where a scene was cut in some airings. Second is Mr. Bean in Room 426 (where he walks around the hallways naked), third is Back to School, Mr. Bean (where a woman’s panties gets accidentally exposed after Mr. Bean gave her the blue paper that got stuck on his hands) and fourth is Goodnight, Mr. Bean (where he picks up a toy gun and shoots the light bulb).
  • Angus Deayton (who frequently collaborated with Rowan Atkinson prior to the show) plays two roles in this episode; one of the lifeguards at the pool and the man on the park bench who witnesses Mr. Bean trying to make his sandwich.
  • Mr Bean would receive a caution for pushing his car like a bike.
  • This is the third and last episode to be shot on video. The next episode would be shot entirely on video tape and film.
  • The end of the episode features Mr Bean running on screen and then he ends up being pulled back up into the sky. This is the only episode to feature this sequence, however, it was repeated in Mr Bean Rides Again, but with the street backdrop. Much fun in “Lunch in the Park”
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