Jack Davenport has admitted that he didn't jump at the chance to star in his new TV drama at first.

The former This Life and Coupling star plays a charismatic gynaecological surgeon in Breathless, a medical drama set in the Sixties.

"Initially I thought it was going to be a medical procedural, and I was like, 'No thanks'," the star, 40, said.

But he changed his mind when he discovered what the show was really about.

"The context of the show - not to get too pompous about it - makes a broader sociological point about women's health and their role in society," he said.

Jack, who has enjoyed a spell appearing in US shows, said that he always wants to work in an ensemble cast.

The actor, who played heart-throb Miles Stewart in This Life, said: "I pick jobs on the basis of what I like to watch myself.

"The only show that has one continuous protagonist that I'm obsessed with is Breaking Bad. But anything else I've ever really liked has had a huge cast, because frankly what [one] character is interesting enough?"

:: Breathless is on ITV1 on Thursdays at 9pm.