Mr Benn is a character created by David McKee who appears in several children’s books, and an animated television series of the same name originally transmitted by the BBC initially in 1971 but the 14 episodes has been repeated numerous times since.
Whether in a book, or on television, Mr Benn’s adventures take on a similar pattern. Mr Benn, a man wearing a black suit and bowler hat, leaves his house at 52 Festive Road and visits a fancy-dress costume shop where he is invited by the moustache, fez-wearing shopkeeper to try on a particular outfit.
He leaves the shop through a magic door at the back of the changing room and enters a world appropriate to his costume, where he has an adventure (which usually contains a moral) before the shopkeeper reappears to lead him back to the changing room, and the story comes to an end. Mr Benn returns to his normal life, but is left with a small souvenir of his magical adventure.
Additionally, scenes before and after his adventure usually have some connection to it, such as the games the children are playing in the street as he passes.
- The character Mr Benn was based on a picture taken by photographer Micaela Mitchell called The Business Man.
- Mr Benn lives in London at 52 Festive Road, which was inspired by Festing Road in Putney where David McKee used to live. McKee had the house “next door” at 54 Festing Road, where residents installed an engraved paving slab in his honour on 26 November 2009. (“I think it was because in the first book I drew myself looking out of the window, and I thought it would be quite nice to have him next door,” said McKee.)
- McKee says he has always thought of Mr Benn as having the first name William.