But his latest role is one that couldn’t be more different. This evening he’ll be playing a transvestite in Jimmy McGovern’s Accused.
So how did he get in character for the role? He did what any actor worth his salt would do..
“I prepared by walking round in high heels in the kitchen at home and one night I went out,” he told the Radio Times. “In the full gear and arm-in-arm with my middle daughter. I wanted to find out what it felt like, whether I’d be able to pull it off and have the bottle to function in that situation.”
“I must have been pretty good – no pictures turned up in the press. Someone even complimented me on my shoes! I’ve still got four pairs of size ten heels lying about my house. I forgot to give them back…”
Bean stars in the first episode of Jimmy McGovern’s second series of Accused, an set of dramas which tell the story of a defendant and how they found themselves up in court.
“My agent called me up and asked if I’d ever thought about it (playing a transvestite),” he explained. “I laughed: ‘Not really. Why?’ But I’d always wanted to work with Jimmy McGovern and when I read the script there was no doubt. This is the most demanding role I’ve played partly because of the full body wax!”
Accused is on BBC1 at 9pm on Tuesday 14th August.