Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:01 UK

British drama is 'sad and depressed' says Heroes star

By Liam Allen
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Sendhil Ramamurthy with Heroes co-stars Hayden Panettiere (left) and Ali Larter
Sendhil Ramamurthy has confirmed that he has left US show Heroes

British TV bosses should spend less on reality shows and more on drama to turn around the "sad and depressed sector", Heroes star Sendhil Ramamurthy says.

The US actor, 35, who studied drama in London, said his UK acting friends were struggling because "there's actually nothing for them to audition for".

"It's such a shame when talented people are not allowed to do what they want to do because of money", he said.

Ramamurthy also confirmed he had left the hit sci-fi show Heroes.

The actor, in London to promote Gurinder Chadha film It's A Wonderful Afterlife, appeared in four series of Heroes, which is shown in the UK on BBC Two.

Ramamurthy made some of his first TV appearances on British shows including Casualty and ITV1's SAS drama Ultimate Force.

He said he had recently been lined up to appear in a BBC drama but "the funding went south - it was a real shame".

'Brilliant shows'

"I think that people need to concentrate more on programming here and I hope that's what happens," he said.

"I don't think that the audience wants all reality television and that kind of thing and I hope that the people in charge know that."

Sendhil Ramamurthy
I hope it changes soon because it's difficult. It's hard for me to see my friends struggling
Sendhil Ramamurthy

He added: "They're putting out what they think people want to watch so I hope people will speak up and say, 'listen, we would like more scripted drama'."

Ramamurthy, who lived in London for six years and is married to former Spooks actress Olga Sosnovska, said: "There are some brilliant shows that have come out of here - I mean, unbelievable - like Waking The Dead and Spooks, all these shows."

Last month, ITV announced it was dropping police drama The Bill after 27 years.

And in July, Jimmy McGovern, creator of The Street, shown on BBC One, announced that the drama was ending because of cuts at the Manchester base of programme-makers ITV Studios.

Speaking last year, British actor Dominic West - star of US drama The Wire - told BBC News he thought British TV "lacks the high end of drama".

"If you turn on American TV, there's a huge choice of nothing you want to see and, unfortunately, I think that's the case here now as well," he said.

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