Gabriel Byrne has claimed that the best writers have moved from cinema and have migrated to TV.

The Dubliner plays the lead in Quirke, a three-part detective series based on the Benjamin Black novels that was screened recently on RTÉ One, which begins next Sunday on BBC One.

"Serious writers have moved from cinema into television," the 64-year-old insisted.

"It's happened on a major scale in the US - those writers are now in TV writing for HBO and Showtime [and] I think you'll see far more actors move in that direction."

Byrne argued that an emphasis on "franchise pictures" has driven many of Hollywood's writers away from the big screen.

"The world of film has changed hugely over the last five years," he maintains.

"There's now a wide gap between low-budget films - films made for $15/20 million - and franchise pictures, costing almost $200/300 million."

Season one of Quirke begins on Sunday (May 25) at 9pm on BBC One.