Former Doctor Who and Broadchurch star David Tennant has said it is "common sense" to have gender balance on the sets of TV shows, adding that "a bunch of blokes can be a bit of an echo chamber".

The  48-year-old actor makes his first foray into executive producing with the new TV drama Deadwater Fell, in which he also stars.

The four-part series, written and created by Daisy Coulam, starts on January 10 on Channel 4 and follows two families in the fictional Scottish village of Kirkdarroch in the aftermath of a horrific crime.

Discussing if there is a different feel on a set led by women, Tennant said: "It's interesting, isn't it? I'm not sure.

"These things aren't entirely gender specific; I think we can over simplify . . . you certainly get some toxic males, but you can get some toxic females as well.

"This was a very happy set and I dare say the fact that so many of the creators were women was a huge plus, especially when you're telling a story that's quite sensitive like this.

"I think there are nuances to this. One doesn't want to gender stereotype, but maybe there's something of an emotional nuance that would have been lost in male hands.

"If I have any say in it, I always like there to be a gender split on set because I think it makes people work better.

"I think a bunch of blokes can be a bit of an echo chamber. But increasingly that's the case, it's quite rare now that you find a completely male set. It's common sense, isn't it?"

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In Deadwater Fell, Tennant plays a doctor whose wife and children are found dead and the finger of suspicion points to him.

Assessing the impact of some of the more harrowing scenes, he said: "You try and get the emotional beats as accurate as you possibly can, and you draw on personal experience however remote that might be to the actual event.

"The rest of it is an imaginative leap, ultimately it's got to be; mercifully I've not suffered the desperate tragedies that Tom suffers, so you're having to fill in what that might be.

"I've never consciously felt emotionally scarred by playing any part; I think sometimes things are a slightly slower burn, but there's a sort of exorcism in perhaps seeing someone else's emotional reaction to things.

"I think that, in itself, is almost a form of therapy. I suppose it's one of the reasons people like to act because it's about walking in others' shoes; you do have to go to some dark places sometimes, but then there's always the moment when they say 'cut' and you realise you're not actually there, which can be quite life-affirming."