Retaining his Yorkshire accent, he first found mainstream success for his portrayal of Richard Sharpe in the ITV series Sharpe.Bean has since garnered further recognition for his performance as Ned Stark in the HBO epic fantasy series Game of Thrones, as well as roles in the BBC anthology series Accused and the ITV historical drama series Henry VIII.His first notable Hollywood appearance was that of an Irish republican terrorist in the 1992 film adaptation of Patriot Games.While filming his death scene, Harrison Ford hit him with a boat hook, giving him a permanent scar.
His father owned a fabrication shop that employed 50 people, including Bean's mother, who worked as a secretary.
He was also widely recognised as villainous treasure hunter Ian Howe in National Treasure, and played a villainous scientist in The Island (2005).
In the independent film Far North, he plays a Russian mercenary who gets lost in the tundra and is rescued by an Inuit woman and her daughter, whom he later pits against one another.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bean became an established actor on British television.
In 1990, Bean starred in Jim Sheridan's adaption of the John B. Also in 1990, his role as the journalist Anton in Windprints examined the difficult problems of apartheid in South Africa.
Bean's rough-cut looks made him a patent choice for a villain, and his role in Patriot Games was the first of several villains that he would portray, all of whom die in gruesome ways.