The new television adaptation of Benjamin Black's Quirke novels begins tonight on RTÉ One with the first of three feature-length episodes starring Gabriel Byrne as weary and wary Dublin pathologist Quirke.

Set in the buttoned-up world of 1950s Dublin, the drama also stars former Tudors actor Nick Dunning as Quirke's half-brother Malachy, Michael Gambon as patriarch Judge Garret Griffin, and Aisling Franciosi, who has previously appeared in The Fall, as Quirke's free-spirited niece Phoebe.

Speaking to RTÉ Ten, Dunning said his character and Quirke have a Cain and Abel relationship which leads to much tension in the series. “That’s what they’re like. Gabriel and I were talking about. If you have brothers there is a set pattern - we all talk about the elder brother and the middle brother . . . but if someone is an adopted brother, what does that do with the dynamic?

"And what it’s done to this dynamic is really screw things up with Gambon’s character, the dad, I’m the real son and Gabriel is the interloper, the cuckoo in the nest and yet the father adores him and despises Malachy to a certain extent – what’s that about?"

Quirke debuts tonight on RTÉ One at 9.30pm.

Read the full interview with Nick Dunning here.