The one bright spot (emphasis on ONE) that has emerged from the excruciatingly long hiatus between the conclusion of series 5 of Doc Martin and the upcoming beginning of filming on series 6 is that Martin Clunes fans on both sides of the Atlantic have gotten to experience a bit of pre-Doc Martin, Martin Clunes, and a bit of present day Martin Clunes as a TV presenter, rather than a curmudgeonly Doc with a questionable bedside manner. Let’s stop here and forego the current tabloid headline topic of Clunes being dropped as spokesperson for a car insurance company in favor of Dawn French…
In recent months, public television fans in the U.S. have been re-introduced to his early 90’s comedic side with the Men Behaving Badly series from Simon Nye. More recently, Clunes was seen in Reggie Perrin, a re-make of the classic Leonard Rossiter comedy, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin from the 70’s, and in several TV presenter roles including his travels to exotic places such as Madagascar to find lemurs and a series on one of his favorite topics, horses.
Given that it is still a couple of months away before filming even begins on series 6 of Doc Martin in Port Isaac, let’s try not to think about it and spend some time with this Doc Martin (Martin Clunes) Q&A with Radio Times.
What is your guilty TV pleasure?
I never thought that I would be saying this, but the programs I really enjoy on TV are those I can watch with my wife and daughter. I love sitting down as a family to watch Britain’s Got Talent, Modern Family or Miranda.
Who takes charge of the remote control in your house?
My wife. I don’t even know where it is. I’m not allowed anywhere near it.
What would you delete from your wife or daughter’s watchlist?
I can’t stand my daughter watching America’s Next Top Model – it sends out the most appalling message to young girls.
Which TV program would you like to resurrect?
I used to love Catweazle when I was younger. In fact, I think someone did try to resurrect it and asked me to be part of it, but Geoffrey Bayldon was too good to follow… or did I dream that?
Would you ever bring back Men Behaving Badly?
To be perfectly honest, the others haven’t aged as well as I have so I think it would be a bit unfair. It would all be a bit too seedy.
Have you got a favorite channel?
Horse and Country is the only channel that shows Monty Roberts, the horse whisperer. He’s fantastic.
You have made a few nature documentaries – are you discovering your inner Attenborough?
It wasn’t my idea and I was really nervous about making the first documentary about elephants. It was meant to be a one-off, but then I was asked to do one about dogs, and then horses. I am worried about doing too many, though, because if people see me popping up in Madagascar as myself they might not buy into me pretending to be someone else.
Madagascar – that’s exotic!
Really exotic! It was a life ambition realized because as a child I always said it was my favorite country. I went on two trips out there and in total probably spent a month exploring the island.
Not bad work, if you can get it…
If you can call it that… Madagascar has lost 80 per cent of its rainforest and is struggling environmentally. We went out there to highlight the plight of the lemurs as they have obviously suffered as a consequence and are a good entry point to the issue because they are so cute… the crayfish population has also suffered but they are harder to warm to.
So do you now see yourself as more of a presenter than an actor?
The places I have been to, the people I have met and the things I have seen are incredible – I don’t think I could give that up now. I have just got back from Kenya where we re-homed an orphan lion cub – what an amazing experience! But first and foremost I am an actor.
So when will you be returning as your favorite blood-phobic GP, Doc Martin?
Next year and I can’t wait to go back there. It will be interesting because Louisa and the doctor are finally going to marry, I think. But I don’t want to give too much away!
If all works according to plan, series 6 will transmit this Fall on ITV in the UK and in early 2014 on public television stations in the States. In the meantime, check out Men Behaving Badly, Reggie Perrin, William & Mary to get your Martin Clunes fix until DS6.