With a role as enigmatic Lord Richard Fenton in the TV miniseries Scarlett, Bean made the transition to Hollywood feature films.
He has received several awards during his career and won an International Emmy for Best Actor.
He has also been nominated for a BAFTA and Saturn Award.
Starting with Sharpe's Rifles, the series followed the fortunes and misfortunes of Richard Sharpe as he rose from the ranks as a Sergeant, promoted to Lieutenant in Portugal, to Lieutenant Colonel by the time of the Battle of Waterloo.
Bean was not the first actor to be chosen to play Sharpe.
It was filmed under challenging conditions, first in Ukraine and later in Portugal.
After several years of rumours, more episodes were produced: Sharpe's Challenge, which aired in April 2006, and Sharpe's Peril, which aired in autumn 2008 and was later released on DVD.As Paul Mc Gann was injured while playing football two days into filming, the producers initially tried to work around his injury, but it proved impossible and Bean replaced him.The series ran continuously from 1993 to 1997, with three episodes produced each year.While filming his death scene, Harrison Ford hit him with a boat hook, giving him a permanent scar.Bean's rough-cut looks made him a patent choice for a villain, and his role in Patriot Games was the first of several villains that he would portray, all of whom die in gruesome ways.His father owned a fabrication shop that employed 50 people, including Bean's mother, who worked as a secretary.