As a comedy heavyweight – there’s not many things that County Durham’s own Roman Atkinson hasn’t seen – but when he came face-to-face with a wildflower sculpture of himself recently – he found it a bizarre experience.

The actor and comedian, who is originally from Consett, may have played Mr Bean, Johnny English and numerous other fan favourites over the year – but he hasn’t stopped surprising fans with his antics quite yet it seems.

As part of Atkinson’s new Netflix series, ‘Man vs Bee’, which is now in the top ten of UK TV shows on the streaming platform, a series of comedic life-sized wildflower-filled ‘Growin Atkinson’ sculptures have been commissioned filled with pollen and nectar-rich wildflowers.

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While most people have brushed it off as a usual PR stunt, the sculptures are being used as a tool from The British Bee Charity and Netflix to get people to think about bees and combatting the decline of the native species.  

According to research commissioned by The British Bee Charity and Netflix, more than a third (35%) of Brits have already noticed massive declines in bee populations in their local areas this summer, with experts believing that as many as 17 species of UK bee are now extinct and many more are at risk.

To make people take note of the devastating decline, each sculpture has been packed with plants ranging from helianthus to petunia and shares a wacky likeness to Rowan's starring role as Trevor in the new Netflix series Man vs Bee - his first original comedy character to hit TV screens for the first time in nearly a decade.

The Northern Echo: Rowan Atkinson and his wildflower double, 'Growin Atkinson'. Picture: NETFLIXRowan Atkinson and his wildflower double, 'Growin Atkinson'. Picture: NETFLIX

The nine-episode series follows hapless house sitter Trevor as he attempts to take care of a luxury mansion before chaos ensues after being invaded by a mischievous bee.

Speaking about the endangerment of bees and his new show, Rowan Atkinson said: "My alter ego, Trevor, may go to battle with a bee, but personally I’m pleased to have these eccentric statues help raise awareness of the plight of native British bees in this country.

“Packed with pollen, nectar and flowering plants to help raise a smile, make people consider the environment and create something of a bee buffet in an effort to help them survive the summer." 

The Northern Echo: The sculptures are all part of Atkinson's new Netflix role 'Man Vs Bee'. Picture: NETFLIXThe sculptures are all part of Atkinson's new Netflix role 'Man Vs Bee'. Picture: NETFLIX

Greg Bool from The British Bee Charity added: "For the most part, people know that honey comes from bees, but few realise there are over 250 species of bumble bees and solitary bees in the UK.

“This is why we have partnered with Netflix to create a series of bee-friendly edible flower planters in British national treasure Rowan Atkinson's likeness - to mark the launch of Man vs Bee, whilst raising awareness of how to support the plight of native species of British bees and pollinators at the same time."

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