Timothy Spall has admitted that his role in a new ITV drama hit very close to home.

The actor stars in Gunrush, which tackles gun crime – a problem that last year affected the area of south-east London in which he lives.

“I live in Peckham quite near where a lot of those shootings went on,” he said.

He continued: “But I don’t live in fear. You just pray to God that it is never going to cross the line.”

Tim added that throughout his life, he has been only too aware of the dangers on the streets.

“I grew up on a housing estate. From the age of 11 to when I left home at about 20, we lived in a tower block,” he explained.

“There were regular muggings and there was violence. It was, at times, an unpleasant place to live, it was horrible and it got better, but you live your life, you get on with it.

“In the old days, you’d get kids beating each other up and the occasional stabbing. Now you’ve got children with guns who don’t realise how lethal they are.”

But he believes it’s not the ‘physicality’ of the places that’s at fault for gun crime.

“Kids are getting into the negative rut of feeling by the age of 13 they have not got to expect anything from society,” he said.

“Plus there’s a terrible lack of male role models in a lot of relationships because of marriage breakdowns. There aren’t fathers around to create a stable view and a lot of the fathers have been though things themselves.”

Gunrush is on ITV1 on Sunday.