British actor Alan Davies took a massive pay cut to keep his Tv drama Jonathan Creek on air amid crippling budget reductions.

The mystery show, which originally ran between 1997 and 2004, returned to the small screen in 2009 after a five-year absence, but Davies fears it could go off air again if the cuts continue.

The actor reveals he has given up a portion of his pay, and production staff are constantly thinking up new ways to slash filming costs, including shooting in the dark to disguise the lack of lavish set designs.

He tells Britain's The Sun, "The budgets on Creek are really squeezed. One of the films we made recently was set in a country house and (writer/creator) David Renwick had to write into the script that the house had been mothballed while a family was away overseas. That meant the design department didn't have to decorate any rooms. We could put sheets on furniture.

"Or we do scenes at night so it's in the dark and the viewer can't see we haven't had the money to dress it (the set)."

He goes on to warn Tv companies in Britain need to increase investment in drama or else cheap reality shows will take over the schedule.

Davies adds, "If you keep slashing budgets, it makes it hard to produce a quality drama... Everyone is tightening their belts and there are cheaper things to put on screen... You don't always just want the easy moving wallpaper of reality shows."