HE is the Mr Bean lookalike who is now more famous in China than Cristiano Ronaldo, thanks to his hilarious skits on social media.
Brit Nigel Dixon — who goes by the name Mr Pea — started posting educational videos in the style of Rowan Atkinson’s hapless TV character while stranded in original coronavirus epicentre Wuhan five months ago.
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Mr Bean look-a-like Nigel Dixon became an internet sensation after getting stuck under lockdown in Wuhan[/caption]
Dixon began posting videos in character about life in Wuhan[/caption]
He is now back in the UK[/caption]
It saw the geeky doppelganger’s follower count on Chinese social media site Sina Weibo skyrocket to 400million, dwarfing Juventus ace Ronaldo’s 216million.
Nigel, 53, who was able to return to his home in Felixstowe, Suffolk, last month, said: “People had a lot of respect for me over there — there was a lot of interest in me.
“Their news channels started to refer to me as the most well-known Westerner in China.
“I can’t tell you how amazing the support was that I had over in China. It was immense, the warmth and love that came to me.
“I had five to ten million followers online sending me support, wanting to make sure I was OK.”
Nigel was visiting friends in Wuhan in January when the authorities locked the region down to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The Mr Bean impersonator decided to film several videos a week on how to keep safe, including wearing face masks and staying indoors.
It offered some much-needed light relief for Wuhan’s 11million residents, who were confined to their homes.
Tale of the tape
NIGEL ‘MR PEA’ DIXON
Sina Weibe fans: More than 400million.
Signature style: Tweed blazer, shirt and red tie.
Known for: His hilarious antics entertaining Wuhan residents in China.
Splits time between: Wuhan and Felixstowe.
Sina Weibe fans: 216million.
Signature style: Boxer shorts or posing topless.
Known for: Footie skills and hilarious statue at Madeira Airport.
Splits time between: Madeira and Turin, Italy.
Such was his success, Mr Pea became a correspondent on China’s main TV news channel, CCTV News, to update the rest of the country on the situation in Wuhan. He said that at one point he was the second-biggest topic on Sina Weibo — the Chinese equivalent of Twitter — ranked even above Donald Trump.
He said: “That was amazing. It was very surreal.
“My videos became a central role in educating people on what was happening in Wuhan and how to stay safe.
“I appeared on China’s main news channels, sometimes as Mr Bean and sometimes as myself, and told people to stay in as much as they could.
“The videos were received really well, they made things a lot clearer for people out there. I also made personal videos for peopl as Mr Bean.
“I sent one to a little girl who had heart problems, and she said it made her feel a lot better.
“It was a good distraction for me while I was out there. It gave me a sense of being, of purpose, and a sense of reward.”
Rowan Atkinson first played Mr Bean on TV in 1990 and an animated series and films followed.
The character has a huge global fan base because of his family- friendly humour and because the show uses little spoken English.
Nigel has been a regular visitor to China over the last six years and has previously performed as a Mr Bean lookalike.
It was a good distraction for me while I was out there. It gave me a sense of being, of purpose, and a sense of reward
He was even selected by Rowan to be the actor’s official double in Top Funny Comedian — a 2017 spin-off Mr Bean film that was released only in China.
Nigel said: “All over the world people are interested in Mr Bean.
“When I do my act in England, I have a worldwide audience come to see me.”
Nigel has mixed feelings about his return to England, as he believes we could be doing more to help each other.
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He said: “I’m partly relieved to be home, but partly cautious. Here in the West we’ve reacted very differently to all this.
“Someone said something to me that is really important. We’re not all in the same boat, like people say — we’re all in the same storm, but in different boats.
“We are all affected in different ways. We need to support one another through this.”
Dixon gave advise to people about staying safe during the pandemic[/caption]
His posts attracted millions of followers[/caption]
Dixon said he wanted to help ‘support people through this’[/caption]