Jerome Flynn has confessed it was an "actor's dream" to play a hardman cop who lets his fists do the talking in new BBC crime show Ripper Street.
Set in Victorian London in the wake of Jack The Ripper's final crime the series follows a trio of crime fighters, played by Matthew Macfadyen, Adam Rothenberg and Jerome as bruiser Bennett Drake.
Jerome said: "It was fun to be Raging Bull for a day even if I say so myself. But no, I'm not comparing myself to Jake LaMotta, but it was just great. I guess it's probably a bit of a fantasy for a few actors."
The 49-year-old star of Game Of Thrones and Soldier, Soldier revealed he had to bulk up specially for the role, and then ended up getting injured on set.
He said: "I'd been on an intense fasting retreat and was probably the scrawniest I've been since I was 14. When they gave me the part they said, 'Please get bigger!'
"Early on I got my head stuck under a very heavy stuntman, and cricked my neck which made it difficult. But I battled through so the boxing was fun."
:: Ripper Street starts on Sunday, December 30 on BBC One.