Sean Bean sam­ples Si­cily

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - FRONT PAGE - Sean Bean talked to Garth Pearce

film­ing we went all over the place, like In­dia, and I would sim­ply stay on af­ter film­ing was fin­ished.

Maybe I find it hard to re­lax. When I was in New Zealand to film

it was a project that went on for a year and a half. It’s a beau­ti­ful coun­try, but when I’m I’m think­ing only of what I have to do in front of the cam­era. I was also trav­el­ling back and forth to Eng­land to see my chil­dren and to stay in touch with life here, so it never once felt like a hol­i­day.

I used to go on hol­i­days to Por­tu­gal when my el­dest two daugh­ters, Lorna and Molly ( with his sec­ond wife, the ac­tor Melanie Hill), were young. Al­bufeira was a favourite. I can’t say, look­ing back, that I was ever that re­laxed. With my third wife ( the ac­tor Abi­gail Crut­ten­den) and our daugh­ter, Evie, we went to a friend’s cot­tage in Devon and, yet again, I was re­minded that I should take more proper time off.

So, with Ge­orgina, I’m to have proper hol­i­days again. We went to Si­cily last year, which was very beau­ti­ful, very friendly and hot. We were in Taormina, at a small, fam­ily-run ho­tel, just the two of us. We could see the lava from Mt Etna glow­ing at night, and they served some great lob­ster meals. I’d go back there again like a shot.

I also like Rome, and north­ern Italy in gen­eral. There’s a feel­ing that they make en­joy­ment of life a pri­or­ity and feel no guilt about tak­ing time off.

I’m try­ing to get the same buzz out of hol­i­days that I do from act­ing. One of my favourite mo­ments was play­ing a foot­baller in

( re­leased in 1996). We had time on the pitch to re-cre­ate match-day scenes at half-time at a game be­tween my team, Sh­effield United, and Manch­ester United. My dad and gran­dad were there, and the crowd got be­hind me so much that I couldn’t come down to earth af­ter­wards. A hol­i­day can never give me a thrill quite like that. AC­TOR Sean Bean, 50, a for­mer welder from Sh­effield, plays a se­cret­ser­vice agent in his lat­est film, Clean­skin, about the fight against home-grown ter­ror­ism. He has ap­peared in The Lord of the Rings tril­ogy and the James Bond film Gold­en­Eye and starred in ITV’s Sharpe dra­mas. He has three daugh­ters from two of his pre­vi­ous three mar­riages; he is now mar­ried for the fourth time, to the ac­tor Ge­orgina Sut­cliffe, and they live in London.

I don’t feel quite as ex­cited about hol­i­days to­day as I did as a kid. Why is that? I’ve trav­elled the world through act­ing and been to some great lo­ca­tions, but noth­ing quite com­pares with my child­hood ex­cite­ment of go­ing to Bournemouth. We went ev­ery year, York­shire to Hamp­shire, on the old trunk roads of the 1960s, which seemed to take for­ever. That was part of the thrill, be­ing in the car for hour af­ter hour, know­ing that we would even­tu­ally be there on the seafront with those won­der­ful sands.

We’d get up, my mum, dad and sis­ter, Lor­raine, at two o’clock in the morn­ing and travel through the night. We stayed at the same bed-and- break­fast place, which was run by a gay cou­ple. They must have been ahead of their time, be­cause ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity was not widely ac­cept­able back then. It was im­mac­u­late and al­ways well run.

We looked for­ward to it for weeks – and talked about it for weeks af­ter­wards. But Dad de­cided one year that the jour­ney wasn’t long enough, so we went to Spain, on our first hol­i­day abroad, by coach.

My dad was scared of fly­ing – and still is. So off we went from our home to Lloret de Mar. The coach was driven on to the ferry, from Dover to Calais, then we drove through France and Spain. It took for­ever, but was very ex­cit­ing.

Now I can af­ford to go on hol­i­days wher­ever I like, I’ve al­most for­got­ten what they’re for. They’re meant to be re­lax­ing, but it’s only re­cently that I’ve re­dis­cov­ered that. I’ve had sev­eral hol­i­days in the past 20 years by link­ing work­ing trips to a break. When I was

FRIENDLY AND HOT: Taormina in Si­cily; and Sean Bean ( be­low left).

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