James Nesbitt says he’s considering turning to the United States for work as the recession-hit British TV industry is in ‘desperate’ straits.

Speaking to the Radio Times about Hollywood, James said: “I could have gone there years ago, but the notion of waiting six months to play a baddie in a bad film just wasn’t my idea of career utopia.

“I was challenged here, I enjoyed what I was doing, but the British TV industry is in a desperate state – not creatively but financially.”

He went on: “So I’ve gone with an American agent and, well, we’ll see what happens.”

The actor said he would miss his daughters Peggy and Mary – “but there’s so little work happening here, it’s not a door that I’d slam shut”.

The actor stars in the much-anticipated BBC One Iraq war drama Occupation, which screens next week. James plays Sergeant Mike Swift, who falls for a courageous Iraqi doctor.

Asked about a scene depicting a uniformed soldier having sex with a woman in a burka, James: “You can get too hung up on that.

“The short answer is that I was terribly moved by that scene and was more concerned with getting the scene right than the political ramifications.”