An impersonator of famous cartoon character Mr Bean, played by British actor Rowan Atkinson, has become a Chinese star after he refused to fly back from China's Wuhan to the U.K. during the Coronavirus outbreak.
The 53-year-old Nigel Dixon from Felixstowe, Suffolk returned home only in May after becoming an internet star in Wuhan. He remained in the Chinese city, where the virus first emerged last December. Caught in lockdown after visiting his friends, he feared that he would spread the Coronavirus in Britain if he returns home. Now, he wants to make a documentary on his experience during the lockdown in Wuhan.
Just Like Our Beloved Mr Bean
Dixon's interpretation of the extremely popular character Mr Bean quickly proved to be a hit. His daily program streamed on short-video platform Kuaishou reached its peak with over 450 million followers on Chinese social media site, Sina Weibo.
Recently, Dixon revealed that he would make a documentary which will include details of his time in lockdown. In a video, he said, "I'm hoping that I get commissioned here as I did in China. I have enough footage to make another documentary and I'm hoping I can share it with everybody."
When China imposed lockdown measures in Wuhan, he created a mini-series called 'Mr Pea' to document his life in the initial epicenter of the Coronavirus in the style of Rowan Atkinson's popular sitcom episodes, such as "The Trouble with Mr Bean" and "Mr Bean goes to town." He also became a correspondent for China's TV news channel CCTV News.
He revealed that initially he was scared of being 5,000 miles away from home. So he thought that "I would do this kind of thing for support." When talking about how his life was in the U.K. compared to his fame in China, he said, "It's quite bizarre," and "it's almost like you feel like you've arrived. It's almost like going through the process twice."
China's Mr Bean
In one of Mr Pea's episodes, he also sang a revised version of 'You Are My Sunshine' to his stuffed toy 'Teddy' and played guitar to show how he kills time when the whole city is under lockdown. He also demonstrated in another episode how he protected himself, including washing his hands and disinfecting his clothing upon returning home. As per Dixon, he started looking like Mr Bean since he was 30. He also revealed that he played as Atkinson's body-double in 2017 Chinese comedy 'Top Funny Comedian.'
He visited China to meet friends during the Chinese New Year and later decided to stay on when the virus started spreading across the city of Wuhan. As reported by the Daily Mail, the comedian said he canceled his trip to Shenzhen to see his friends as he thought that it would be selfish of me to go not knowing "if I have the virus or not."
Dixon added that there was little information given by the U.K. authorities to the British nationals in Wuhan city. He was also not aware when the British government had urged all Britons to leave China. But he insisted that he felt safe and happy in Wuhan despite the fact that the Chinese city was shutdown.
He clearly said that there is no need to be scared of infection as long as people take preventive measures. In addition, he said having stayed in Wuhan during the outbreak, he appreciated the support Chinese people give to each other as well as to him.