In this issue of the Bean Zine:

- Killing the Cat

- Sharpe - The 4th Series
- From Russia with Luck

- From Sharpe: The Making of a Hero

The Guardian (August 20, 1990)

Impact Magazine (May 1996)

Daily Mail (November 13, 1992)


KILLING THE CAT - some of these have been put online under Theatre Reviews

for Killing The Cat.

A play by David Spencer
Soho Theatre Company

Sean Bean................Danny
Dominic Kinnaird.........Young Danny
Valerie Lilley...........Joan
Kate McLoughlin..........Kathy
Sally Rogers.............Shelagh
Henry Stamper............Sam

Director.................Sue Dunderdale
Decor....................Shimon Castiel
Lighting.................Danielle Bisson
Sound....................John Leonard

Text published by........Methuen
Performing Rights........Curtis Brown
(Winner of the 1990 Verity Bargate Award)

John Marriott

Blessed by David Spencer's lean script which ensures that anger bounces off
the walls of this tiny venue with full force, this impressive piece links family
break-up to social unrest, and provides meaty roles for an excellent cast.
Centering on the uneasy introspection of Danny (Sean Bean), who makes a trip
back to Yorkshire to grapple with his family background, "Killing the Cat" also
draws in a vivid portrait of a weak, blustering father (Henry Stamper) and
flashes back to a happy childhood which lasted until love was broken into tiny

Sean Bean holds the centre well as Angry Young Danny, veering convincingly
from volcanic rage and biting cynicism, to weepy sensitivity and all-out
kindness. Henry Stamper provides a visceral treat as a father trapped by his
own insecurity.

Kate McLoughlin and Sally Rogers offer confident support as Danny's two
sisters, while Valerie Lilley, as the mother, fixes your gaze with her descent
toward mental illness.

This harrowing scenario of alienation and lost love is thankfully punctured
by bouts of earthy humour. The acting is so electric the cast almost sits in
your lap.

James Christopher

David Spencer's award winning play, full of tense, inarticulate aggression,
examines the corrosive legacy of sexual abuse as seen through the eyes of a
young playwright, Danny, whose almost perverse determination to exhume his
working-class family's murky past rubs abrasively against their wishes. If the
main dynamic is Danny's quest for the root of his father Sam's shadowy, drink-
twisted guilt - namely Sam's interference with his sister Shelagh (Sally Rogers)
- it is deliberately obscured by what Danny thinks happened (the content of his
play), what he has been told happened, what he remembers happening and what he
imagines to have happened.

The action shuttles between the '70's and the present day on Tom Conway's
cluttered set; street lamps, dustbins and the expedient post-pub trappings of
armchair and TV evoke on the one hand council-estate familiarity and suggest on
the other the emotional and circumstantial impoverishment of the protagonists'
lives. It's a surreal arena dominated by Henry Stamper's ebullient Dubliner,
Sam, whose genuine, unaffected affection for Young Danny (Dominic Kinnaird) and
the older, wiser version (Sean Bean) is strongly contrasted to the harsh
intensity Danny employs to nail his father to the past to punish him almost in
order to forgive him. It's the arrogance of a playwright and the festering hurt
of wronged youth, but crucially, the recognition on Danny's part that he is
vulnerable to the same sin. In all, a demanding, complex work which Sue
Dunderdale directs with respect and sensitivity, exacting powerful performances
from the Soho Theatre Company.

Milton Shulman

Without a copy of the text of "Killing the Cat" (by David Spencer) it is not
particularly easy to work out who is doing what to whom. The plot rather comes
together like the assembling of a jigsaw puzzle where the first pieces belong to
the corners and the middle with the rest eventually being filled in to give the
whole picture.

This working-class family in a West Yorkshire town is dominated by its
father, Sam, whose main achievements are an ability to earn money at menial
jobs, to consume vast quantities of beer and to bore his children with
repetitious accounts of what he did in the last war.

His children fall apart trying to cope with his presence and his values.
Danny, who we see both as an adolescent and as a mature young man, is clever
enough to get himself a university degree but is not clever enough to know what
to do with it. He is an envious social drop-out with IRA sympathies.
Kathy, who shares her father's craving for drink, has come home after being
beaten up by her lover. Shelagh is wracked with guilt because her father
sexually molested her when she was a child.

Sam's wife wisely escaped from this noisy, unattractive household 20 years
earlier but the knowledge of her husband's incestuous tastes has contributed to
the brain damage she eventually suffers.

Adding another layer of complexity to an understanding of what's going on is
the fact that everything we are seeing may just be extracts from a novel that
Danny has written.

Undoubtedly based on Danny's early love for his father which deteriorates
into violent hatred, the descriptions in his book about incest are explicit
enough but they may be only what he thought had happened or dreamt had happened.
Sam's excuses for molesting his daughter are astonishingly naive. He blames
his actions either on drink or his view that because it felt nice it couldn't be
really wrong. "I know it's wrong," he soliloquises, "but it's a natural thing if
you love someone. And I paid the bills in the house."

Heavy with Irish and Yorkshire accents, the language has a jagged urgent
rhythm that keeps one attentive even though the agonies of these unprepossessing
people ultimately become repetitive and boring.

Henry Stamper, as Sam, bears himself in that erect, self-confident manner
which is often the stamp of a working-class bully. His moral values can always
be washed away by the swilling of pints of beer.

Sean Bean rather overdoes the agonised rampaging product of a domineering
father. The switch from Danny's adulation of his father as an adolescent,
played with a nice quality of innocence by Dominic Kinnaird, to his disgust in
later years seems almost clinical rather than natural.

Sally Rogers, as Shelagh, seems uncertain about how much she should have been
repelled by what had happened to her but because she is reading all this in
Danny's novel, her reactions are always ambiguous and perhaps illusory.

Lynne Truss

Meanwhile, at the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs, David Spencer's "Killing
the Cat" is - as its name suggests - a cautionary tale about the perils of
curiosity. Danny (Sean Bean) has been delving too deep into family history, and
has written a book about his father's secret abuse of his sister Shelagh - which
she would now prefer to forget. "D'yer forgive 'im?" he asks (the play is set
in West Yorkshire). "Dew I fuck," replies Shelagh. "But a live 'im. E's just
a lonely old fucker wi not much left. E drinks too much." Spencer takes some
interesting angles on the subject - this is a demonstrative family where
brothers and sisters declare their love for each other, and where the habitually
drunken Irish father (played by Henry Stamper) croons "Most of All I love You
'Cause You're You" to his daughter - but dramatically the evening is somehow
less than gripping. A play of memories, voices and sound effects, its natural
home would be on the radio.

Harry Eyres

David Spencer has written a play about the noxious effects of child abuse,
which is notable for the absence of campaigning rhetoric and accusing fingers,
and in which the social services are never mentioned. Perhaps it would be more
accurate to say that he is concerned with the breakdown of proper channels of
communication, which includes love, within a family - a breakdown which
incestuous love freezes and enforces rather than resolves. The effect in this
fine production directed by Sue Dunderdale has something of the dark intensity
of O'Neill (no accident that this is a family of Irish origin, living in West
Yorkshire) and also his structural awkwardness.

In Shimon Castiel's design, the Theatre Upstairs stage is arranged
lengthways, giving it an uncommon breadth, to form a dingy, basement-like space
full not only of bicycles, dustbins, television and cat food but also of the
impediments of the past. This allows the play to develop simultaneously at
different levels of time.

Two of these are defined by the ages of the two actors playing Danny, the son
of the family who (in the present) has come back up north as an unemployed
writer to confront his and his family's past. This Danny is taken with raw
energy, anger and desperation by Sean Bean. He also appears as a boy of 14,
played with quiet sensitivity by Dominic Kinnaird. Danny is the conscience and
recording angel of the family; the fact that he has written a book called
Killing the Cat, which reveals the family's dark secrets, enables other
characters reading from it to speak what they would not normally say.

At the centre of the action is Danny's father Sam, an immigrant Irish factory
worker imbued with charm, dignity and rich vowels by Henry Stamper. Behind the
charm lies an orphanage upbringing, violence, and a feeling that drink excuses
most things but not the stealthy abuse of his daughter Shelagh; he drinks to
erase the guilt.

Spencer is stronger on his male characters than on the female ones who are
the obvious victims. The sisters Kathy (Kate McLoughlin) and Shelagh (Sally
Rogers) react much more stoically than Danny, accepting that life must continue,
though the bricked-up room seems more and more like a prison. Their mother Joan
(Valerie Lilley) is seen at one point in catatonic despair, then walks out
without comment.

Matt Wolf

What increasingly seems to be the Royal Court's house style - short, sharp
plays written in jagged, non-naturalistic stabs - is reinvigorated in David
Spencer's "Killing the Cat" (Theatre Upstairs), the Soho Theatre Company
offering that won this year's Verity Bargate award. Spencer lives in Berlin,
but his play returns him to the terrain of his earlier works, "Releevo" and
"Space": working class Yorkshire and families living in a crisis that they can
barely articulate. His authorial alter ego, a writer named Danny (Sean Bean),
makes his need to comprehend itself a theme of the play, as the various
incidents from his turbulent childhood and adolescence are interlaced with
excerpts from the book, Killing the Cat, which we see him offering up to sister
Shelagh (Sally Rogers) for approval.

"Maybe I'll write a comedy," Danny tells his boozing father Sam (Henry
Stamper) at the end, in a curtain line that nicely avoids any possible
melodrama. And yet the mordant sarcasm of the remark is inescapable in the
light of what the play unfolds - a life marked by cycles of violence, pain and
repression, in which the sins of the swaggering Irish father seem inevitably to
be visited on his brooding and introspective Yorkshire son.

Uniting all the characters is a need for "the way out", as Danny's other
sister, Kathy (Kate McLoughlin), puts it. While Danny finds a catharsis of
sorts in prose, Sam seeks his escape route in drink, shutting out the memory of
prior incestuous episodes with Shelagh which Danny, discovering these belatedly,
calls on him to confront. Relegated to the sidelines is Danny's divorcee
mother, Joan (Valerie Lilley), a woman condemned by her own inarticulacy to want
from life one thing which she couldn't name, "so she couldn't ask for it."
Sufficiently expressive is the ashen-faced, wide-eyed Lilley that the part seems
even more disappointingly underwritten.

Sue Dunderdale's direction makes adroit use of every aspect of the small
Court studio, as the six actors (Danny is in fact shown as two selves, Bean's
questing adult and Dominic Kinnaird's troubled child) lay bare a shared history
of unvoiced wishes and vague hopes, some of which, Spencer implies, may yet be
answered. On a hot night punctuated by thunder showers outside, this exemplary
company generated that unusually electric heat which comes from witnessing a
relatively unknown playwright on the verge of a breakthrough.

Dale Arden

"Killing the Cat" opens with a fragmented sequence of moments from a family's
history, past and present. Although the links between the fragments at first
seem obscure, each moment has perfect emotional clarity. The effect is
kaleidoscopic, as little shards of atmosphere, each one razor sharp at the
edges, gradually begin to resolve themselves into a pattern.

In a decaying house that was once the family home, Danny prowls around
sniffing out the past like a bloodhound. If the past won't deliver itself into
his hands, he'll hunt it down.

Danny's mother used to tell him "You're alright son." but that was before she
went through the psychiatric mill, before they "plugged her into the national
grid system". She wasn't mad, she was just "fatigued with sadness". Danny's
sister Shelagh once thought that the things her father made her do were
"alright", because if it's your Dad and he tells you it's alright, it must be.
Lost in an endless loop of actions, reactions and repetitions, Danny can't
see a way of getting clear of any of it. "I'm not alright and I tell you I'm
not alright." Sociologically speaking everyone in "Killing the Cat" is a victim
of some kind; but it's not a play about passivity and victimisation, it's about
loving, being sad and getting on with it. The characters are dynamic, if
confused, participants in their own lives.

The play received the 1990 Verity Bargate Award, and quite right too. David
Spencer's writing is poetic, on the ball and very much alive. He manages to
play out a thread of real humour in the grimmest situations while avoiding the
pit of saccharin that lurks around the "make 'em laugh, make 'em cry" school of
drama. This production by the Soho Theatre company is beautifully directed (by
Sue Dunderdale) and the cast of six are universally excellent. Highly



Richard Moore
Military Modelling April 1996

Richard Sharpe, Bernard Cornwall's British rifles' officer of the
Peninsular War, will be on British TV screens soon in three new
feature films from Carlton Television. Richard Moore, Military
Technical Advisor to the series, and who plays Rifleman Moore,
describes the location filming in England and Turkey and offers a
readers' competition with one of the Baker rifles actually used in Sharpe as a

Sharpe Film set out once again on campaign in September 1995 to make another
three films taking us up to and including the Invasion of France by Wellington's

Following up the success of the past years is always a concern - we tried to
improve our performance this year by making the first of the films, Sharpe's
Regiment - one of the most popular in the series of best-selling novels by
Bernard Cornwell - on location in England and using some of my friends and
comrades in the Napoleonic Association, fresh from Waterloo 1995, to play the
recruits, soldiers and civilians in the cast. The result, as you'll see, is an
outstanding film in which their individual and 'regimental' performances lend a
very professional and period atmosphere.

Sharpe's Regiment

Richard Sharpe, with the South Essex Regiment in the Pyrenees, in late 1813,
is warned that his reinforcements are drying up, and as a result the Regiment is
to be disbanded. Fearing this, he takes Harper with him to England to find out
why no more men are forthcoming. Sinking deep into a web of intrigue, Sharpe and
Harper find the answer by the only way open to them ...they join the British
Army! They are taken to a secluded camp deep in the wilds of Essex, where the
Second Battalion South Essex are revealed ...what happens next I'll leave until
you see the film.

The sequences shot at 'Foulness Camp', and on the marshes around it, use the
soldiers of our created 'South Essex', all re-enactors, some of whom learned a
lot about soldier life themselves ...the long hours, the boredom, living under
canvas, the drills, the bad weather, in addition to using their hobby skills to
enhance our film. Many of them said to me it was too real! Maybe they were
referring to their pay and conditions but at the end of the film we had become a
unit together, with morale and traditions.

By arrangement with English Heritage, Tilbury Fort in Essex passed easily for
the barracks of the South Essex Regiment. Once again, the bridges and the parade
ground of the fort echoed to the tramp of feet and shouted orders in a memorable
scene shot in heavy rain, in which the Regiment arrives, is armed, and leaves
after a parade to prove they exist by 'appearing' uninvited at a Royal Review in
London. As the scene began in which the Regiment leaves, then clad in their red
uniforms, with full kit and muskets, the clouds parted and the sun shone out,
which led to a recurrence of the tradition that 'the sun always shines on the
South Essex'- a strange phenomena particular to us which we'd already noted.

The Company Moves Overseas

From Tilbury fort the company moved overseas. We have, as many readers know,
used the Crimea for our locations in past series, but due to logistical problems
and the drought there, we decided to try Turkey in 1995. The start and end
sequences of 'Regiment' are filmed here ... you'll see what I mean about the
difference in water! (And the leap from English autumn to Turkish high summer).
Suddenly, one day, I felt the urge to fall over whilst walking down a hotel
corridor in Turkey - it came as a bit of a surprise when I found out I was in an
earthquake! It caused a lot of death and damage just over 60 miles away, and I
never want to be in another one.

Politics Take a Part

We couldn't use Turkish servicemen as our extras, as in the Crimea, due to
the political situation outlined for me by the British Embassy in Ankara. This
meant the raising of over 600 boys and men to play the armies of Britain and
France in the next two films. I went over to Turkey five days prior to shooting
to arrange this and, using methods that were totally unknown to my counterpart,
Horatio Havercamp, the recruiting sergeant in 'Regiment', Turkish radio,
television and the newspapers, within six days I had fulfilled our quota and got
something of an 'army' basically trained to make a start with. This brought the
total of extras I've trained for Sharpe over the years to over 1,200 (and me
still a Private!)

NATO - No No!

I did contact NATO servicemen in Turkey hoping they'd seen past episodes of
Sharpe and might like to take part as our soldiers - I also wanted to borrow an
Apache helicopter, but that is another story! Initially things looked good, but
once the 'High Command' heard about it they put a stop to the proceedings.
Evidently the political situation in South East Turkey, what with the war
between the Turks and Kurdish separatists, the Kurds and the PKK terrorists, the
PKK with 'anybody' and the presence of something 'top secret', meant that if I
pushed this I'd be persona non grata in Turkey - polite diplomatic words which
passes for someone being thrown out of the country.

Sharpe's Mission

Sharpe's Mission, an original screenplay not based on a book, was the first
episode shot, an adventure in which treachery and subterfuge are exposed by
Sharpe set against the background of the battles in the Pyrenees in October,
1813. It was shot amongst some of the most evocative, but damned difficult
terrain we've ever tried to film in.

In one of the very deep gorges in Turkey where we filmed part of Sharpe's
Mission, a shepherd under the influence, wanting a cool place to sleep it off,
wandered into a cave and came out clutching a six-inch high solid gold statuette
from a previously undiscovered tomb! This led to a sudden reversal by me to my
archaeological days, and an unsuccessful search for Barbarossa's tomb, who was
drowned nearby, and took his wealth with him to the grave. However, looting is
still severely punished by the authorities, so 'Indiana' Moore eventually had to
resume his more lawful duties as a rifleman!

Sharpe's Mission became a battle off-screen in addition to the ones on
camera. An Irish documentary film crew came out to film us during this episode,
and catch some of the real action live ...and some unexpected footage too, like
the simulated destruction by explosives of the French powder magazine, part of
an ancient caravanserai we were using as a set. It looked so good you'd think it
actually was destroyed.

The results of all their Irish documentary crew's work can be seen in the
weeks prior to the screening of Sharpe. It'll give a bit of an insight into the
hardships of the cast and crew involved m making these films. A tip for
travellers - Turkish mosquitoes don't like gunpowder, but be respectful of your
hotel walls!

Sharpe's Siege

The final episode is a screen adaptation of Sharpe's Siege. Trying to leap-
frog part of the French army, and encouraging a revolt by the populace (contrary
to Government wishes) Sharpe and a force made up of the South Essex and the 60th
Rifles - yes, the return of 'Sweet William' Frederickson, one of our most
popular characters - move out to try to surprise and capture a fortress and hold
it long enough to force the French to try to retake it.

We used an ancient castle/fortress on a seaside promontory in south-east Turkey
for our fort, a truly beautiful setting, the old walls designed to be
strengthened and enhanced by our Art Director, Andrew Mollo. During the
construction, many old coins and other items were found here, dating back to
Hellenistic and Roman times.

The castle, now held by Sharpe, is attacked by the French, after a
bombardment using mortars, the first time we've employed this type of gun on
Sharpe. As anyone who has watched all of the previous Sharpe series will already
know, any 'odd' weapon (remember the Congreve rockets?) we use is fully tested
for offensive potential and I can state that from one of them a heavy, eight-
inch diameter Turkish football propelled by one pound of powder goes over 500
yards. Our 'French' gun crew loaded and fired one, 'live' on camera - as you'll
see in the film. The mortars were recreated from a design given to us from
Woolwich Arsenal, taken from an existing Gribeauval system gun on show there.

Sergeant Harper's Volley Gun

Of all the weapons I've designed and made for Sharpe, Harper's seven-barrel
volley gun always attracts a lot of attention. This very rare piece was made for
Sharpe's Company, but due to the blast when fired it rarely gets used to full
effect in our films. All seven barrels discharge simultaneously to terrible
effect and it once blew over two stunt men and the camera! Its work is now over,
so it'll probably be released for sale to a museum or a collector. Its a hell of
a gun to carry around weighing in at 8 kilos.

What more can I say? Sharpe has gone from trial to trial and become one of
the most successful series on television, creating a fresh burst on TV of period
dramas, broken new ground overseas and set new standards for efficiency and
commitment, started a new boost in interest relating to Napoleonic military
history, and now has a following of thousands. I've had my critics, but I try
damned hard to get it right, because I owe it to our ancestors.


Karen Hockney
TV Times

When the makers of Sharpe announced they were switching filming of the new
series from the Ukraine to Turkey, there were sighs of relief from Sean Bean and
the rest of the cast and crew. A favourite destination for British
holidaymakers, Turkey was a popular choice to replace the Ukraine - it was
warmer, the hotels were comfier and there was plenty to do in the Turkish
coastal areas of Antalya, Alanya and Silifke when the cameras stopped rolling.
'Some of the leading actors found shooting in the Ukraine for 16 weeks at a
time very trying,' explains producer Malcolm Craddock. 'And we wanted a change
of landscape because we had to show the Pyrenees mountains.'

Despite the bleakness and isolation of the Ukraine, there were certain areas
where the Russians definitely came out on top. 'Turkey doesn't have the same
established film industry that Russia has,' says Malcolm.

'We couldn't find Turkish stuntmen, for instance, so we brought over a team
of 12 Russians. They were from the St Petersburg school of stunt training and we
knew they were quite fearless as we'd used them before.

'They'll do an incredible stunt like falling from a galloping horse onto rocks
and boulders and if it doesn't look quite right, they'll get back in the saddle
and do it again without a word.

'We also brought a team of Russian construction workers to
build the sets. They specialise in mountaineering and were quite
happy to abseil down 100 ft walls.

'Fortunately, we didn't have a problem with the Russian
authorities or we'd have been stuck because the expertise of
these people couldn't be matched.'

Changing location from one country to another presented
several other problems for Malcolm and his team - not least
of which was moving weaponry from the Ukraine to Turkey.
'It's almost impossible to move guns and explosives from
country to country in a legal fashion,' he reveals.

'Luckily, we had experts to see us through customs but the
look on the officials' faces when they saw the huge cannons we were bringing
with us was a picture.'

In the new series, Richard Sharpe gets married but has to leave his wife
behind to go on a perilous mission to capture a French fort in the Pyrenees.
Finding a suitable setting for this episode proved a huge headache, as Malcolm
recalls: 'We went to virtually every castle in Turkey and there were problems
with each one we found. They were either on a flight path, surrounded by new
buildings or near a main road.

'We were about to give up when we drove round a corner and
found a beautiful castle right by the sea in Silifke, which was perfect.'
The 10-week shoot was such a success that Malcolm is keen to
return to Turkey for the next series. 'The people were wonderful and we all
enjoyed it. There's a myth about Turkey that's perpetuated by the film Midnight
Express but the reality couldn't be further from the truth.'


FROM Sharpe - The Making of a Hero
RACHEL Murrell Carlton Books, 1996

'You did me a damn good turn. Now I'm going to do you a damn bad one. I'm
giving you a field commission. From this moment on, you're a lieutenant in the

With these words, Sir Arthur Wellesley - soon to be the Duke of Wellington -
rewards Richard Sharpe for saving his life by plucking him from the ranks and
making him an officer, changing at a stroke the whole course of his life. From
then on, Sharpe is an outsider. His fellow officers sneer at him because he is
not a gentleman, and his men mistrust him because he is no longer one of them.
Only in battle is he at his ease. And in battle, he is magnificent. His courage,
strength and determination to win mark him out as a man Wellington can make use

Richard Sharpe was born in the late 1770s, the son of a whore. He spent his
childhood in orphanages and workhouses, fighting, stealing and cheating to stay
alive. When he killed a man to defend a friend, Sharpe became a fugitive from
the law. And, like thousands of others before him, he joined the army.
He enlisted in the 33rd Regiment, serving in India - spending three months as
a prisoner of the Tippoo Sultan before escaping and killing his captors - and
then getting posted to Portugal at the beginning of the Peninsular War. During
the long hard winter of 1808-09 Sharpe was one of a small group of riflemen cut
off from the rearguard of Sir John Moore's army in the retreat to Corona. He was
later part of a stronger, better equipped force which returned to drive
Napoleon's forces from Spain.

It was then that fate took a hand in his advancement. Sharpe saved
Wellington's life - in the novels, this happens at the battle of Assaye in
India, but in the film Sharpe's Rifles it happens in Spain - earning promotion
and regular work as Wellington's troubleshooter.

The army is Sharpe's world. He abides by its harsh rules, but if those same
rules conflict with natural justice, he's prepared to break them. Although he
loves the army for its values of honour and decency, he also hates it for
allowing the wealthy and the well-born to buy their way to power and influence
over better men.

Sharpe's innate sense of justice often gets him into trouble, notably in
India, where he reported a sadistic sergeant - Obadiah Hakeswill - for torturing
a man, and ended up accused of the atrocity himself. Hakeswill had Sharpe
flogged and the resulting feud underlies events in Sharpe's Company and is
pursued to the death in Sharpe's Enemy.

Sharpe's first command is of a small group of riflemen in the 95th known as
the Chosen Men. Initially he comes down hard on them for their sloppy conduct
and shabby appearance, but learns a less authoritarian approach from Comandante
Teresa, the Spanish partisan, leading by example rather than ruling by force.
Teresa also teaches Sharpe to love, and despite frequent partings and the
constant fear of losing each other to a bullet or a knife, they develop an
enduring relationship and have a daughter, Antonia.

With Teresa, Sharpe can reveal his vulnerable side, but in public he is moody
and in frequent conflict with his superiors. His manner, his proud insistence on
wearing the uniform of a rifleman rather than that of an officer, and the scars
of his flogging mean that he is sometimes taken for an ordinary soldier.
It's a mistake people do not make twice. They quickly learn that Sharpe was not
born to his commission, nor did he buy it. He earns it. And a man raised from
the ranks is a force to be reckoned with.

In the books, Sharpe is a dark-haired cockney, but since Sean Bean took on
the role, the character has become inseparable in the public mind from a fair-
headed, athletic South Yorkshireman.

Two things strike you about that Yorkshireman when you first meet him. The first
is that he's quiet, serious and almost shy. He speaks with the accent of his
native Sheffield, and it's no secret that he's happier at home with his family,
or in the pub with his mates than at a showbiz event - or being interviewed.
The second is his smile. You get so used to seeing Sean onscreen as an evil
villain or a stern-faced hero that when he smiles - it's as if a light has come
on in the room.

Sean and Sharpe have a lot in common. Both are tough, working class lads with
the ambition to make something of themselves. And both achieved it. Sean left
school at 16 and went into an apprenticeship in his father's welding shop. After
four years, he decided to go to art college in Rotherham, but it wasn't until he
took some drama classes that he realised where his true vocation lay: 'Once I'd
decided what I wanted to do, I got really into it,' he says. 'I was reading
books and plays and going to the theatre and everything. I couldn't get enough.'
Sean was half way through a two year course when he was accepted by RADA. He
jokes about it now: 'RADA was the only place I applied to because I didn't think
there were any more. That's how green I was.'

He's come a long way since then, specialising in screen villains in Patriot
Games, Scarlett, Clarissa, Fool's Gold and, of course, the latest Bond film,
GoldenEye. He played Mellors in Lady Chatterley, Theresa Russell's married lover
in A Woman's Guide To Adultery, and a host of other film and TV roles. But fame
didn't happen overnight. Sean's first job was in Romeo and Juliet at the Water
Mill, Newbury, and he has spent five years in theatre, all told, including a
spell with the RSC.

Throughout his career, Sean has done all his own stunts, and has been injured
as a result. 'You put yourself out on a limb occasionally,' says Sean. 'But I
enjoy doing it, it's part of the job. And it always looks better.'
Sean's very fit, and has a particular talent for swordplay, which he studied
intensively at RADA and for which he won prizes. On Sharpe, he got extra
coaching in fencing from a Russian Olympic champion. 'He was fantastic to
watch,' says Sean. 'Such poise and grace. You learn things from people like
that. There's been many good fights. The fight with Jason Durr in Sharpe's
Battle, that was a good fight. I got a few stitches in my hand from that.'
He's had worse. 'I got smacked across the face with wooden pole by Harrison
Ford in Patriot Games,' he says. 'It was an accident. He gave me two black eyes,
bashed my nose, and I had ten stitches in my eye.'

But even that had its up-side: 'We used the scar over my eye for Sharpe,'
says Sean. 'We make it up a bit more and it looks great.'

But Sean's not just an all-action hero. He enjoys bringing out Sharpe's
emotional side from time to time and, having played his share of sex scenes in
other shows, values the fact that in Sharpe the love scenes are romantic rather
than erotic. The recent films see Sharpe meet a new love: 'The first film,
Regiment, is when I meet Jane Gibbons, and fall in love with her,' says Sean. 'I
eventually get married to her during Siege. The marriage goes its own way, but a
relationship is formed which is quite interesting, because in the last few
episodes, it's been like a girl every week, y'know what I mean?'

In real life, Sean is married to the actress Melanie Hill, better known as
Aveline from Bread, and Sister Lockley from Cardiac Arrest, and their two
daughters are among his biggest fans.

'Lorna's watched all the Sharpe films,' says Sean, 'and now Molly's started.
They watch 'em when I'm away. They like it cos I'm the boss, know what I mean?
I'm going round telling everybody what to do, and they can say, "That's my

Sheffield's most famous son may have lived in London for more than 15 years,
but he still makes frequent visits home to see a large and loyal crowd of

'It's always nice to go back home and get your feet on the ground,' he says.
'They always treat me like the person they grew up with, went to school with, or
go to the match with. That's the beauty of going back home. I can relax. Be

And although ambitious, Sean has never been a starry actor: 'I do my job and
that's about it really,' he says. 'I concentrate on doing the best quality work
that I can, and doing justice to that work. Anything above that is not of too
much concern to me.'

What does concern him, however, is Sheffield United - and he has the words
'100% Blade' tattooed on his arm to prove it. On more than one occasion, this
passion has nearly interfered with Sean's acting career. Once he got back from a
match with 10 minutes to spare before he had to go on stage: 'Sheffield United
were playing Leeds United at Elland Road,' remembers Sean with a smile, 'I was
playing Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, and I arrived ten minutes before curtain went
up. Luckily it was a modern day production by Michael Bogdanov, so I just
chucked my suit on, put my hair back and went on'

There was another incident a few years later when a match in London ended up
in a good-natured pitch invasion. Sean had already joined the flood of fans
going onto the pitch before he remembered he was due to fly to the US the
following day to begin work on Patriot Games. He had to dodge a few police
officers and hope he didn't get arrested so that he could make his flight. He
laughs at the memory:

'It was a jubilant thing, not a nasty one, after the game had finished,' he
says. Then he adds mischievously, 'Anyway, by going across the pitch you got to
the tube station a lot quicker.'

When Sean was in the Ukraine filming Sharpe, he often called home for news of
a big match, and more than once he'd spend a full 90 minutes glued to the
telephone listening to a radio which Melanie or his mum positioned next to the
phone at the other end. Small wonder, then, that when producer Jimmy Daly
offered him the lead in When Saturday Comes a film about Sheffield United, he
jumped at the chance. 'I couldn't have picked a better part for myself,' says
Sean. 'In fact, I thought it was a wind-up at first. Jimmy rang me up, he said
"I'm making a film about Sheffield United", and I thought "Oh aye, this is one
of my mates winding me up. Who is it this time?"' But Sean rang Jimmy back a few
weeks later, and the resulting film - which also stars Pete Postlethwaite and
Sean's wife Melanie - premieres in Sheffield in Spring 1996.

The future is full of promise. Sean is in discussion on a number of future
projects, among them a film of Sharpe's adventures in India called Sharpe's
Tiger, a fifth set of TV films of Sharpe, and a TV version of The Prisoner of

Sean is also keen to work on the other side of the camera. He's currently
developing another project with Pete Postlethwaite and Jimmy Daly, only this
time, as well as starring in it, he'll be one of its producers.

'I've been on this side of the fence for the last ten, twelve years,' says
Sean. 'I've been around with actors with crews, so I know what goes on. But I
like to know about things like that. I think it's good for everybody to know a
little bit about what's happening.'

Like Richard Sharpe, Sean Bean is an ambitious man. And like Sharpe, you have
a feeling he'll fight until he's got what he wants.

* * *

It is night-time, and very cold. A small group of men wearing the dark green
jackets of Riflemen go through a ditch, then scramble up the battered walls of a
fortress towards the waiting French. Ahead of them are the guns and bayonets of
the enemy; behind them, the guns and bayonets of their comrades. But still they
go forward.

The sound of gunfire peppers the air, mingled with the cries of wounded men.
The French stab and slash at them, and the Riflemen fight back, every inch of
ground paid for in blood and sweat. Everywhere there is smoke and confusion.
Explosions, fires, the stink of battle. As men fall, others take their place.
And still they go forward.

'It looks great on screen, but on set you can't see more than about two
metres ahead of you half the time,' says Lyndon Davies, alias Rifleman Perkins.

'At night, the horses literally come out of the darkness at you. You hear their
hooves before you see them, there's mud flying everywhere and you get this surge
of adrenaline. You really feel that you're there.'

That the actors themselves feel they're in the thick of battle is a tribute
to director Tom Clegg, stunt co-ordinator Dinny Powell, Russian stunt master
Sasha Philatove, and special effects supervisor, Goby Evitsky.

The main sword fights are choreographed in meticulous detail. 'Sean's done
some excellent fights,' says Dinny. 'He's very fit and he does all his own
stunts. You don't have to hold his hand. The Chosen Men are also very good,
especially Jason. With Jason, you've got to hold him back. He'd do anything.'
The team plans the position and timing of each explosion, where cavalry and
extras will be, and where the riderless horses are supposed to go. Before every
take, each actor is shown his particular path through the melee, and there is a
rehearsal. Says Lyndon, 'You have to know where you're going so that you can
both act and watch out for your own safety. But when it comes down to it, the
battles are so realistic, you don't have to act. You just run. Sean leads, and
we just follow.'

* * *

Even the most static television programme can go wrong, but in high-action
shows like Sharpe, the potential for accidents - and therefore the concern for
safety - is correspondingly greater.

Ironically, the most serious accidents have happened off-camera. In one case
a French actor came close to losing his eye when someone turned round and cut
him with a bayonet in a rehearsal. On another occasion, a chef slipped and fell
down some steps at the Rossiya Hotel, fracturing his skull.

Sean, obviously in the front line a lot of the time, has had many a cut and
burn. His closest shave was in Sharpe's Regiment when he was crouching in a
ditch as a horse thundered overhead. Suddenly, the edge of the ditch gave way,
and one of the horse's rear legs threw up a clod of earth which hit him on the
head. Although he wrenched his shoulder badly, it was a lucky escape: another
inch, and he would have been crushed.


BEAN AND THE GOTH is now on The Compleat Sean Bean
Features page:


is now on The Compleat Sean Bean
Features page:

is now on The Compleat Sean Bean
Features page:


Subject: Bean Zine Extra - Issue 5 July/96

16 Jul 96 15:52 BST S0379

Copyright 1996 PA. Copying, storing, redistribution, retransmission,
publication, transfer or commercial exploitation of this information is
expressly forbidden.

By Simon Holden, Showbusiness Correspondent, PA News


ITV will use some of the biggest names in showbusiness to cash in on the
success of Britain's resurgent film industry, it revealed today.
The network's six major franchises are ploughing more than L100 million into
a five-year plan.

It intends to make at least 10 "mainstream big box office" films a year which
will all be given TV world premieres after going on general release.
All will have a minimum budget of L2 million. That is tiny by Hollywood's
standards but the network expects to lure top actors like Anthony Hopkins and
even Sharon Stone.

ITV regularly gets bigger audiences for its home grown dramas than bought-in
American films.

Although it will not use Sean Bean and Robbie Coltrane in "spin-off" movie
versions of Sharpe and Cracker, it may develop their careers using different
roles in original films.

Network director Marcus Plantin already commissions L220 million a year in TV
drama and believes the L100 million investment will eclipse what Channel 4 has
already achieved with movies like Four Weddings And A Funeral.

The first films go into production next year but will not be given a TV
premiere until early 1998.

Chariots of Fire producer David Puttnam said: "This is a major boost to our
resurgent industry. ITV have shown immense confidence in Britain's ability to
once again compete with the world in making mainstream movies."

LWT managing director Steve Morrison said: "We are not looking at making
Mutiny on the Buses II.

"It will encourage the best of British talent to make films. I do not see why
they should not be able to attract talent like Anthony Hopkins.

"This is the first time the British public will have a say in the kind of
films made. ITV will now have Britain's most popular films," he added.
The L100 million comes from the six largest owners of the ITV franchises:
Carlton, Granada, United News and Media, Yorkshire Tyne Tees TV, HTV and
Scottish Television.
PA 16 Jul 96 13:07 BST S9960

Copyright 1996 PA. Copying, storing, redistribution, retransmission,
publication, transfer or commercial exploitation of this information is
expressly forbidden.

By Simon Holden, Showbusiness Correspondent, PA News


ITV today announced a L100 million investment in British films which will
guarantee the network at least ten world premieres a year.

The initiative is supported by the six largest owners of the ITV franchises:
Carlton, Granada, United News and Media, Yorkshire Tyne Tees TV, HTV and
Scottish Television.

Between them they will produce ten films every year, spending L100 million
over the next five years. The first films go into production early next year.
Marcus Plantin, ITV's network director, said: "This move will enable the
channel to provide an even bigger showcase for the best of British talent, both
in front of and behind the camera, and create more opportunities for
high-profile 'event' evenings in ITV's schedule.

"This new venture offers a timely incentive to the British film industry. It
is also very good news for ITV in that it will enable us to schedule our very
own television world premieres at a time when mainstream movies are increasingly
being viewed first on satellite."

British film director David Puttnam said: "This is a major boost to our
resurgent industry. ITV have shown immense confidence in Britain's ability to
once again compete with the world in making mainstream movies."

A host of British actors including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Robbie Coltrane and
Rowan Atkinson and Hollywood stars including Sharon Stone are in the ITV frame.
The network will not name names but is hoping to lure the best national and
international talent despite its relatively modest budgets.

A minimum of L2 million will be spent on each film although some will have
significantly higher funding.

ITV is determined to eclipse Channel 4 in the success of its film funding
projects but will not use existing network stars in "spin-off" movies.
"We are not looking at making Mutiny on the Buses II," said LWT managing
director Steve Morrison.

"It will encourage the best of British talent to make films. I do not see why
they should not be able to attract talent like Anthony Hopkins," he added.
"This is the first time the British public will have a say in the kind of
films made. ITV will now have Britain's most popular films.

"This will be a huge incentive to make the mainstream popular films we have
not been able to make in the past," he added.

Although ITV has signed a deal with Rowan Atkinson to make Mr Bean the Movie
it will not be included in the new batch of films.

The first of the new pictures will be shown in early 1998 in a prime time
slot. At least 10 will be made every year.
(The following article also ran in the
Daily Telegraph on Wed. July 17, 1996.)
(same facts, slightly different story)


ITV plans to spend L100 million over the next five years making at least 10
"mainstream box office" British films a year, it was announced yesterday.

The fims, each with a budget of L2 million, will all be given television
world premieres after going on general release.

ITV, which regularly gets bigger audiences for home-grown dramas than for
American films, hopes to lure leading British actors such as Anthony Hopkins.

Although it will not use Sean Bean and Robbie Coltrane in "spin-off" film
versions of the successful ITV dramas Sharpe and Cracker, it may develop
their careers in original films.

Marcus Plantin, network director, believes the L100 million investment will
eclipse what Channel 4 has already achieved with films such as Four Weddings
and a Funeral.

The first films go into production next year but will not be given a
television premiere until early 1998.

Steve Morrison, LWT managing director, said: "We are not looking at making
Mutiny on the Buses II. It will encourage the best British talent to make

"This is the first time the British public will have a say in the kinds of
films made. ITV will now have Britain's most popular films."

The L100 million will come from Carlton, Granada, United News and Media,
Yorkshire Tyne Tees TV, HTV and Scottish Television.
July 28/96
This is from one of the Pathfinder sites:


been spotted drinking together in a small town in Ireland. Bean - who also stars
alongside Postlethwaite in the hit TV drama SHARPE - dropped in to Casey's
Bar in Sixmile bridge to see how his pal was getting on while filming his new
movie THE SERPENT'S KISS. Postlethwaite is shooting the movie outside
Sixmilebridge in County Clare with THE PLAYER actress GRETA SCAACHI and
TRAINSPOTTING star EWAN MCGREGOR. Bean and Postlethwaite admitted they
are planning a new movie together, but say they are staying quiet about it until
the idea gets off the ground. (SM/WN/RT)

(28 Jul 1996 08:34 EDT)

July 23, 1996

A little humour. I picked this up on the Private Eye website - Private Eye
being a satirical English magazine. This was included in a list of real-life
interviews where the questions asked were...shall we say...somewhat redundant:

From the Private Eye website: (Issue 894 - Netballs)

Ray Stubbs: You've been a lifelong supporter of Sheffield United...
Sean Bean: Yes.
Stubbs: So, how long have you been supporting them?
Bean: Er... all my life.

April 6/96
BURBANK, Calif.--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--April 23, 1996-- Production began
April 15 in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Icon Productions' feature film
adaptation of Count Leo Tolstoy's classic romantic novel, "Anna Karenina."

The film which stars Sophie Marceau ("Braveheart") in the title role and
Sean Bean ("Patriot Games") as her illicit lover, Count Vronsky, is directed
by Bernard Rose ("Immortal Beloved") from his own screenplay.

Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Davey ("Braveheart") produces and
Stephen McEveety executive produces. Supporting roles are played by Alfred
Molina as Levin, James Fox as Karenin, Mia Kirshner as Kitty, Danny Huston
as Stiva, Saskia Wickham as Dolly and Fiona Shaw as Lydia Ivanova. Warner
Bros. will distribute "Anna Karenina" in the United States and Canada, and
Icon Entertainment International will oversee international distribution.

Tolstoy's classic tale of tragic love and human morality follows the
heartbreaking romance between the aristocratic Anna Karenina and Count
Alexei Vronsky. Anna, though a wife and mother, plunges into a tempestuous
affair with the dashing Vronsky, shocking Russian society and rending her
family apart.

The story of their liaison is contrasted with the romance and marriage of
two of their friends, Levin and Kitty, who find increasing happiness and
fulfillment as their relationship deepens over time. The passion,
desperation and despair of one couple and the warmth and devotion of the
other trace two separate choices in love, and reveal the consequences of

"Anna Karenina" has been filmed several times in the past, most notably with
Greta Garbo starring. However, this production is the first Western film to
be made entirely in post-Soviet Russia, utilizing the classic architecture
and vistas of one of the world's most picturesque and little-seen cities as
a natural setting for the action of the story. Production was arranged in
cooperation with the Len Film Studio of St. Petersburg, which provided
facilities and helped obtain access to certain sites.

Among the locations to be used in the film are Catherine the Great's lavish
Winter Palace; the legendary art museum The Hermitage; the Peter and Paul
Fortress, which actually pre-dates the construction of St. Petersburg by a
year; and several other historic palaces, including the Marinsky, Marly and
Wedding Palaces.