Matthew MacFadyen has once again defended his new show Ripper Street, saying there is more to the BBC One drama than blood and guts.

The Spooks actor, who plays detective inspector Edmund Reid in the Victorian-era show, praised it for the quality of its drama and strong narrative.

“You have all that richness, and it has a thumping good narrative as well as blood and guts,” he said.

“I had a few months of nothing, then a load of scripts all came at once, and this was by far the best. It’s such terrific writing; it just barrelled along. I saw the title and thought, ‘This has been done before’, but it was so fresh, and it had all the qualities, interest and depth of a period drama.”

Matthew added that he did not have a favourite episode of the show, saying they were “all brilliant”.

“Apart from there being a story of the week, which worked really well, there’s a narrative that goes over the whole eight episodes, certainly with my character,” he said, “and without giving too much away, there’s an emotive thing about my character’s daughter,”

“I thought that worked very well, and I liked exploring that, but there’s stuff about dockers’ strikes, politics, child gangs, and they were just on the verge of great advances in forensics. Fingerprinting hadn’t come in yet, so they were sort of on the cusp of really moving forward.”