Sean Bean: I went on a night out dressed as a woman

The Yorkshire-born actor reveals he walked round the house in high heels and underwent a full body wax to play a transvestite in BBC1's Accused

What’s your guilty pleasure?

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I watch all the soaps almost religiously. I also find true crime documentaries oddly moreish.

And your childhood favourite?

The Flashing Blade, a French show about these really good swordsmen who were always riding horses, duelling and rescuing women.

What would you bring back?

Steptoe and Son. My mum and dad and sister and I used to love watching it together: the father and son always arguing but their love so deep they can’t get away from it.

What do you do to lull yourself to sleep at night?

Classic FM. Sometimes I have it on all night at a very low volume. I need to get back into playing the piano because it’s a lovely way to get away from things and relax.

Do you ever Google yourself?

Nooooo. I don’t do technology. I’ve got all the gear but I don’t know what to do with it so the kids have to sit me down and teach me.

Who would you take out for dinner?

A fellow Yorkshireman: James Mason. The other day I flicked on to a rerun of The Desert Fox and sat on the edge of my bed, intending only to watch for a minute but found myself glued. There was something about his understated performance that I found very soothing.

Who was your first crush?

The girl in Man about the House.

You’re a bit of a sex symbol. How do you deal with fan mail?

Generally it’s complimentary but I occasionally get peculiar letters that are probably best left alone!

How did you end up playing a transvestite in Accused?

When my agent called me up and asked if I’d ever thought about it, 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!

How else did you prepare?

By walking round in high heels in the kitchen at home and one night I went out.

What, 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.

And?

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… 

QUICKFIRE Q&A

1. Strictly or The X Factor?
Strictly

2. Jamie Oliver or Nigel Slater?
Who? Oh, the chefs – Oliver,

3. Radio 4 or Radio 2?
Radio 4

TOWIE or Made in Chelsea?
No, none of that.

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5. Michael McIntyre or Frankie Boyle?
Michael McIntyre