TV star Matthew Macfadyen has expressed his disdain with attempts by TV and film studios to make their male stars increasingly hunky.
The actor, 40, was told to undergo a rigorous diet and fitness regime when he landed the role of Mr Darcy in the 2005 adaptation of Pride And Prejudice.
He told Radio Times magazine: “You do the deal and then the personal trainer gets in touch.”
He added: “When I see it on screen, it immediately smacks of vanity because I know what’s happened – they’ve been doing crunches, 50,000 press-ups before breakfast and a character in a period drama wouldn’t have done that.
“Darcy would have been quite fit because he rode horses and all that stuff, but if I ripped off my shirt to show a six-pack… well, that’s a gym thing.”
The former Spooks star added: “I remember when we did Warriors (a 1999 BBC drama about the conflict in former Yugoslavia), we were shooting with squaddies from the Royal Green Jackets – they were the real thing, they’d just come back from Bosnia.
“None of them looked like they’d been anywhere near a gym – they were all supremely fit, they could walk for 25 miles carrying a heavy pack and were working soldiers, so that actor bootcamp thing… it’s about the actor, not the role.”
Matthew’s comments come after Irish actor Aidan Turner caused a stir with shirtless scenes in BBC One Cornish saga Poldark.
Aidan’s co-star Heida Reed, who played Elizabeth in the drama, branded the attention ‘ridiculous’, saying: “I think it just undermines the rest of the show.”
Matthew is set to play Georg Von Trapp in a new movie about the famous family from The Sound Of Music and also stars in the drama The Enfield Haunting.
He said of his Victorian crime drama Ripper Street being axed by the BBC: “I think there was a new person and anything that wasn’t their baby was… I don’t know, I really don’t know… but it’s been a rocky old ride.”