Serial 'baddie' Sean Bean plays one of the worst men in English history

This is Sean Bean in his latest role - and you may not be surprised to know that he's a scheming, ruthless villain in it.
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If you are a casting director looking for a "baddie" to play an evil role in your TV production, they don't come any better than Sheffield's Sean.

He has played the part of an arch-criminal so often that it's amazing he isn't arrested when he walks the streets outside whichever studio he is filming.

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Bean's roles have included scoundrels such as James Bond's evil nemesis, a killer, wife-abuser, thief and kidnapper.

Thomas Cromwell played by Sean Bean in Shardlake Pic Disney +Thomas Cromwell played by Sean Bean in Shardlake Pic Disney +
Thomas Cromwell played by Sean Bean in Shardlake Pic Disney +

That was the perfect CV for his latest part as a Disney + new Tudor murder series "Shardlake."

He plays Thomas Cromwell, the dangerous and all-powerful right-hand man to serial wife killer Henry VIII.

A man once described as surely one of the most unscrupulous figures in England’s history and who saw off his rival Thomas More and Henry’s second wife Anne Boleyn.

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In the plot, Cromwell employs the main character Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer, ordering him to investigate the murder of one of his commissioners at a monastery.

Dean Andrews in recoveryDean Andrews in recovery
Dean Andrews in recovery

Sinister, self-serving Cromwell, to protect his own position, wants the killing solved and the monastery closed.

"He leaves Shardlake in no doubt that failure is not an option," says Disney.

The broadcasters aren't saying much more about the storyline, which was filmed mainly in Hungary, Romania, and Austria.

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But the real-life Thomas Cromwell (not to be confused with Oliver) was beheaded on orders of the dastardly monarch - so it wouldn't be the first time Bean's character has met a gruesome end.

Sean Bean Pic by Andy GottsSean Bean Pic by Andy Gotts
Sean Bean Pic by Andy Gotts

The former Handsworth schoolboy loves getting his teeth into meaty roles like this.

He once said: "To play a bad guy, you have to go into his psychology and his mentality and that's what I find fascinating.

"There are so many degrees to it- a psychopath or a sociopath- that you just have so much to play with and you can do bad things."

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The four-part series is based on the best-selling novels by CJ Sansom.

The real Thomas Cromwell - a Tudor selfieThe real Thomas Cromwell - a Tudor selfie
The real Thomas Cromwell - a Tudor selfie

It is hard to miss Sean on the streaming channels at the moment.

On Monday, the film Knights of the Zodiac was aired on Sky Cinema Premiere HD - although it has received some negative reviews from critics and has been described as a box office flop.

Meanwhile, another South Yorkshire actor is out of commission for a while.

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Emmerdale star Dean Andrews, who plays the bullish Will Taylor in the series, has been on the operating table at a Sheffield hospital.

As the Rotherham man recovered, he went on his Instagram account to post that he was "very happy to have woken up" after the procedure.

It is not clear what health issue he'd encountered.

He simply wrote on his Instagram account: "Surgery went well. Very happy to have woken up (with a laughing emoji.)

"Many thanks to my surgeon Chris and all the staff @thornburyhospital."