Interview by Sarah Ewing Published: 6 February 2011

The actor, 51, grew up on a former council estate in Sheffield, and missed the sense of community when he moved to grim London
Interview by Sarah Ewing Published: 6 February 2011


Sean Bean shared his childhood room with his sister (Gavin Smith)

I only left the family home in Handsworth, Sheffield, when I married my childhood sweetheart, Debra, at 19 and moved to London to go to Rada. Growing up, there was my dad, Brian, my mum, Rita, and my younger sister, Lorraine.

Our house was semi-detached, with a small garden up front and round the back. It was ex-council, on an estate, till my parents bought it in the 1970s and did it up. Looking back, itís amazing we all fitted in: it had only two bedrooms. L

You can never take Yorkshire out of the boy: Iíve got an old stone cottage near mum and dad that Iím doing up orraine and I shared a room, which was split in half with a thin wall of plywood. Luckily, we got on okay. My half was like a magical little world to me.

I loved our estate and the area. I always had lots of friends around, as the gardens all backed onto each other. I used to go round the corner and play football in the street with the boys, hanging round the lampposts. The streets are different now, but back then it was like the sun never set. We were out laughing together and having fun till our parents came calling for us.

I enjoyed my school days, unlike some kids. Like a typical kid, I never used to talk to my parents about how Iíd got on. I hated them coming in to speak to my teachers.

Sadly, my first local primary school, near the estate, has been torn down. I hated maths and chemistry as I got older. I preferred biology, where we dissected rats. After Iíd finished my homework, Iíd have a kickabout outside, then head to the local takeaway for chips with curry sauce.

I used to jump off those old open-backed buses for a dare. I didnít need much encouragement, because this kid called Eggy would sit at the back of the bus and spit on our blazers. It took ages for my mum to scrub it off.

Dad set up a foundry locally with a friend. At its height, it employed 50 people, and he drove a Silver Shadow Rolls-Royce, but my mum and dad never moved house. Family and friends were more important to them. Mum worked as the company secretary. Dad only sold it just before the millennium.

I left Brook comprehensive school with two O-levels and went straight into an apprenticeship at the foundry for three years. I had a great time. I was the youngest, and I grew up quite a bit, being in with older men, chucked in at the deep end. We didnít take things too seriously, but the camaraderie and feeling of belonging were second to none.

When I moved down to London, I had a really hard time adjusting. It was a shock and an eye-opener ó people kept themselves to themselves and werenít all that friendly. I wasnít happy and just wanted to go home. Iíd hardly ever been away growing up ó Dad didnít like flying, so weíd take the coach to Bournemouth, Brighton or even the Costa Brava instead. Eventually, I got used to it, and some of my old friends even ended up down south, so I felt more settled.

You can never take Yorkshire out of the boy, though: Iíve got an old stone cottage near mum and dad that Iím doing up. The community spirit is still very much alive up there. People still say hello and help each other out, despite feeling the effects of the recession. A lot of industry has closed down, and the job losses have hit hard, but the locals still have their pride. Itís a wonderful place to return to. Keeping that spirit alive is vital for future generations.

Sean Bean is supporting the Quaker Oat So Simple ďMake the most of your morningsĒ campaign; quaker.co.uk
Source of this article : The Times