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11 January 2021 12:32

Rowan Atkinson has accused Friends of stealing a joke from his Mr Bean sitcom.

mr bean

Rowan Atkinson has accused Friends of stealing a joke from his Mr Bean sitcom. The comedy actor made the claims in a new ITV series honouring his comedy character for his 30th anniversary. In the show, titled Happy Birthday Mr Bean, Atkinson remembered a 1992 scene from his comedy show in which the character is seen running around with a turkey on his head. Six years later, US sitcom Friends directly emulated this joke for its 1996 episode "The One With All The Thanksgivings". It shows Joey (Matt LeBlanc) frantically running around with a turkey stuck on his head.

Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis accuse Friends of stealing their Mr Bean joke

Monica (Courteney Cox) is also shown wearing the turkey head later in the episode. "When we made the Bean movie in 1996 we decided to plagiarise ourselves and use the turkey on the head joke again," Atkinson said, adding: "Also shooting in the 1990s was Friends – and they stole the joke." Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Independent Culture newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} The Independent would like to keep you informed about offers, events and updates by email, please tick the box if you would like to be contacted Read our full mailing list consent terms here Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week The Independent would like to keep you informed about offers, events and updates by email, please tick the box if you would like to be contacted Read our full mailing list consent terms here Atkinson said that, due to reusing the joke for Mr Bean's big screen adventure, many people then assumed it was the opposite way around and that he had stolen the joke from Friends. Mr Bean used the turkey gag six years before 'Friends' (Tiger Aspect Productions / Warner Bros. Television Distribution) Also speaking on the documentary was Atkinson's collaborator Richard Curtis, who wrote the turkey gag. "I'm absolutely dazzled by the Friends thing," he said. "I only saw it the other day. I literally can't believe what happened there. Bizarre." Atkinson added: "In the end, you can't steal jokes. But jokes are there to be stolen, or to inspire. Inspire others." Atkinson recently fuelled hopes for new Blackadder episodes.

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