Life on Mars actor Philip Glenister has described the British TV industry as "screwed up" and run by "a lot of fools" who put "fame ahead of talent".
Philip Glenister plays DCI Gene Hunt in Life on Mars
The actor claimed soaps were frequently "churned out on a treadmill" and described reality shows as "cruel".
The pressure to meet targets could mean that "the better the quality, the more you're penalised", he told Radio Times.
Glenister added that if Life on Mars was delivered on budget, they would be asked to "do it for less" next time.
"It's very frustrating when they want to hurry you up to save money. I tell them: 'I didn't sign up for The Bill. Let's do it properly.'"
The 44-year-old, who plays chauvinist detective Gene Hunt in the BBC One series, expressed annoyance that "every awards ceremony" had a special category for soaps.
"I don't want to be a snob but they only do it to satisfy market forces," he said.
"Soaps are a separate industry, churned out on a treadmill with no time for any creative process."
He said EastEnders took itself too seriously but claimed Coronation Street did not, adding that he had "a soft spot" for the long-running ITV1 programme.
With reality television, there was "so much cheapness", he told the magazine.
Glenister (right) stars alongside John Simm in the TV drama
"Someone makes big bucks at someone else's expense and it's the sadistic element of shows like Big Brother I find so cruel.
"We're so screwed up with our principles. We used to mock Japanese game shows where they ate bugs. Now we're doing the same, if not worse. It's terrifying."
Glenister also ruled out appearing in the forthcoming US remake of Life on Mars.
He said the pressure of such a role would lead to him being treated "in the Priory", referring to the famous rehabilitation clinic.
"If I was 10 years younger or didn't have children, I might like to go to Hollywood, but it's never been a burning desire.
"I'm too old and cynical to go cap in hand."