Matthew MacFadyen has defended Ripper Street following claims that the BBC One drama is too violent.
The Sun said that nearly 90 viewers complained about the TV drama, which is set in east London in the Jack the Ripper era.
Former Spooks star Matthew, who plays detective inspector Edmund Reid, told The Sun: "I think people are fascinated by Victorian attitudes towards sex and society.
"And back then in the East End there was enormous poverty... It was the Ripper murders that brought to light the dire poverty in the East End. They showed them up to a greater audience."
Matthew, who is married to actress Keeley Hawes, also heaped praise on the show's writers for bucking the trend by not making his character a cliched cynical TV detective.
The BBC recently defended the drama following complaints it was too violent for its timeslot.
"Ripper Street is a strong and gritty series set in the east end of London at the end of the 19th Century and we have tried to be true to the period," the broadcaster said.
"We scheduled it after the 9pm watershed and made sure the content was widely publicised as well as giving a warning before each episode as necessary so the audience would know what to expect."