GLASGOW-BORN actor Matthew Macfadyen has told how he had to "switch off" to play the controversial role of a convicted paedophile.

The 34-year-old father-of-three said he had to detach himself from normal emotions to tackle the role for the new drama, called Secret Life.

Macfadyen admitted he may become the victim of a violent backlash for the seemingly sympathetic portrayal of the paedophile, called Charlie.

He said it was his most "repellent" character yet.

Viewers will be horrified, he said, when they watch his character succumb to temptation in the Channel 4 programme, but he added he could not let the role affect his life.

"It's a really horrible moment. I just let it pass through me. It's my job to do what the character does and try and make it as real as possible, but I'm quite good at switching off," he said.

"I went home afterwards and cooked dinner and joked with my kids.

I had no qualms about taking on the role because I am pleased with the way the story has been handled. As an actor, you can't judge your character."

The drama follows Charlie after he is released from prison and shows his battle not to re-offend, despite his protestation he still poses a risk to children.

Macfadyen, who starred in BBC drama Spooks and is married to Keeley Hawkes, his former co-star in the series, said it was important to talk about difficult issues and was glad he had brought the debate surrounding paedophiles into viewers' living rooms. Secret Life will be shown on April 19 at 9pm.