Rowan Atkinson on his ‘vicious turkey prop injury’ from ‘Mr. Bean’

So many iconic, brilliant television moments remain with you endlessly no matter what. One has to only think of the classic I Love Lucy scene with Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory to understand how such scenes can easily become seminal moments in our television viewing lives.

From the world of British comedy, for me, one of those moments is the visual from The Vicar of Dibley with one Geraldine Granger getting into a Brussels sprout eating competition with David Horton, during the “The Christmas Lunch Incident” episode in 1996.

Then there’s the visual of Mr. Bean with a turkey perched atop his head from “Merry Christmas Mr. Bean” in 1992:

Credit: screengrab

While maybe not the most famous of all turkey TV visuals — who can forget November 22, 1978, and the First Annual WKRP Turkey Drop in Cincinnati — this ranks right up there.

As the story unfolds, the bumbling Mr. Bean gets his head stuck inside the turkey after he decides to take a very close look for the watch he lost inside the turkey that he is preparing.

Unfortunately, the actual filming of a very large turkey on your head isn’t as funny as watching the finished product.

In recent interview with PeopleTV, Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) revealed that, while no turkeys were injured in the filming of this episode, he suffered from months of back pain as a result of the holiday comedy bit.

Even though it was a prop, that turkey was fantastically heavy,” Atkinson said. “And it had terrible repercussions on my neck and down my back for months afterwards. A vicious turkey prop injury.

Created by Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, the British sitcom ran from 1990-1995 and was based on a character originally developed by Atkinson while he was studying for his master’s degree at University of Oxford.

Thankfully for Atkinson, the episode was not based on a true story.


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In: Actors/Actresses,Comedy