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Ray Winstone is best-known for his sparkling film career, but the Hackney-born actor told journalists that TV has surpassed Hollywood in the quality stakes in recent years.

“I think the best scripts are coming through TV now,” said Ray. “There’s a lot of crap films at the moment isn’t there?”

Ray will be starring alongside Aneurin Barnard (who viewers may remember for his performance as Richard III in BBC period drama The White Queen) in new Sky1 drama Moonfleet (pictured).

Based on John Meade Faulkner’s 1898 novel about smuggling and piracy and set in the small Dorset village of Moonfleet, the two-part drama tells the story of young John Trenchard (Barnard) and his hunt for Captain Blackbeard’s fabled diamond.

Ray, who stars as leader of a gang of local smugglers, also slammed the continued success of reality TV.

“I turn on the TV and see cooking programmes and Big Brother, things I don’t really want to watch. There’s room for that, but more and more from the likes of BBC, Sky and HBO we’re getting better drama, we just need more of it!

“It’s a selfish thing to say because I’m an actor, but I don’t want to watch a bloke cook a boiled egg! I want to see something that’s relevant to today or something that takes me away from it!”

Ray’s hands-on approach to acting also went down well with his Moonfleet co-star, Aneurin Barnard.

“Working with Ray was great because we both like to get involved and get our hands dirty with the stunts,” said Aneurin. “In fact we were doing one scene where there was supposed to be no stunts and out of nowhere Ray punched me a couple of times for no reason – which gave me a bit of a shock! That’ll wake you up at 9 o’clock in the morning I tell you!”

Moonfleet comes to Sky1 in January