Sean Bean on why he was terrified of playing a priest in BBC drama Broken

In case you missed it, Sean Bean has taken on the role of Father Michael Kerrigan in ‘Broken’ in the brilliant new BBC One drama from ‘Cracker’ creator Jimmy McGovern.

But the 58-year-old star admits it was ‘a first’ when he was asked to portray a man of the cloth in the series, which also stars Anna Friel as mum Christina Fitzsimmons, and he felt more than just a little bit nervous standing at the altar.

“I’ve had dealings with priests and churches but I’d never really thought about playing a priest. I’ve been in church and seen priests, but when you’re up there, looking the other way and you’ve got the vestment on, it’s quite a different story, let me tell you,” he said.

Sean’s Catholic priest works in a Northern urban parish, and he must be confidant, counsellor and confessor, to a community, struggling to cope with its beliefs, faced by the realities of modern day living.

Sean Bean

The ‘Game of Thrones’ star is more used to playing an action heroe or bad guy, and admitted it took him a while to relax in the form of a priest.

“I found it quite nerve-wracking the first time. I wanted to get everything right – I guess that’s the thing. It took me a little while to relax into the part.”

Jimmy came up with the idea when he was a writer on ‘Brookside’ and the story is loosely based on his own upbringing. He first worked with Sean when they made ‘The Accused’ and was thrilled to get him on board, admitting that they made the script fit around their big name star.

He told The Daily Mirror: “Sean was my wildest dream. He is not a good actor – he is a great actor, one of our finest. I think this is one of his best performances.

“The penalty of getting him is you have to use him, you have to get enough of him. So we have stories coming in episode 1 and leaving in episode 3… it was because we got Sean.”

Broken airs on BBC One from 23rd May at 9pm.

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