Martin Clunes

Martin Clunes
Born Alexander Martin Clunes
(1961-11-28) 28 November 1961
Wimbledon, Surrey, England
Nationality British
Education Royal Russell School
The Arts Educational Schools
Occupation Actor, Television presenter, Director, Musician
Years active 1982–present
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[1]
Spouse(s) Lucy Aston (1990–1997; divorced)
Philippa Braithwaite (m. 1997)
Children Emily Clunes (b. 1999)
Parent(s) Alec Clunes (deceased)
Daphne Acott
Martin Clunes' voice
from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 18 September 2011.[2]

Alexander Martin Clunes, OBE (born 28 November 1961) is an English actor. He is best known for portraying Martin Ellingham in the ITV drama series Doc Martin and Gary Strang in Men Behaving Badly. Clunes has narrated a number of documentaries for ITV, the first of which was Islands of Britain in 2009. He has since presented a number of documentaries centred on animals. He has also voiced Kipper the Dog in the animated series Kipper and was the narrator for Roger and the Rottentrolls.

Clunes was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2015 Birthday Honours for services to drama, charity and the community.

Early life

Clunes was educated at the Royal Russell School in Croydon, London and later at the Arts Educational School. He is the son of classical actor Alec Clunes, who died of lung cancer when Clunes was eight years old. He has an older sister Amanda.[3] He is a nephew of the actor Jeremy Brett.[4][5]


Clunes served his first role in rep at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester,[6] and his first television appearance came in the 1983 Doctor Who story Snakedance.[6] But a sporadic career led to his supplementing his income as a photo model for Gilbert and George, and he can be seen in their 1983 work World.[7]

He got his first regular television role as one of the sons in the BBC sitcom No Place Like Home,[8] and then starred in two series of the sitcom All at No 20.[9]

While Clunes was appearing on stage at the Hampstead Theatre, Harry Enfield came to see him; the acquaintanceship developed into a friendship where Clunes played characters in Enfield's sketch shows (most notably one of the Rugby Players).[10] Enfield then recommended Clunes for the role of Gary in the sitcom Men Behaving Badly,[11] written for Enfield by Simon Nye, bringing Clunes his best-known role to date and for which he won a BAFTA television award for Best Comedy Performance in 1996.[12] He played the part of Group Captain Barker in the 2-part TV mini-series Over Here that same year. In 1993, he played Dick Dobson in Demob about a pair of demobilized soldiers who have to adjust to civilian life after entertaining World War II troops with a raunchy cabaret act.

Since 1994, Clunes has frequently appeared on the BBC One panel show Have I Got News for You as a panelist or a guest presenter.[13][14]

Clunes has since appeared in films and television shows such as An Evening with Gary Lineker, Staggered (starred and directed), Hunting Venus, The Booze Cruise, Saving Grace and Jeeves and Wooster. In 1998, he was featured in Sweet Revenge and appeared as Richard Burbage in the Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love. Clunes has also acted frequently for the radio, including a guest appearance in the BBC Radio 4 series Baldi.

In 2001, he played Captain Stickles in the BBC adaptation of R. D. Blackmore's Lorna Doone.

In 2002, Clunes played serial killer John George Haigh in a Yorkshire TV production A Is for Acid, and took the lead in ITV's production of Goodbye Mr Chips.[15]

Clunes was one of the eponymous leads in the 2004 ITV comedy-drama William and Mary, with Julie Graham. Clunes had worked with Julie Graham previously on Dirty Tricks (2000).[16]

Since 2004, Clunes has played the lead role of Doctor Martin Ellingham in the ITV comedy drama series Doc Martin.[17]

In August 2007, Clunes starred in the ITV/TVNZ co-production The Man Who Lost His Head.[18]

Clunes is a regular voice over artist and is the voice of Kipper in the animated children's series Kipper the Dog. For six years (1993-1999) he also did voice acting for Safeway adverts; he provided the voice of Harry in Safeway's 'When Harry Met Molly' advertising campaign during said years.

Clunes appeared in a television dramatisation of Fungus the Bogeyman playing Jessica White's father.

Between 2009 and 2010, Clunes starred on BBC One television in the title role of Reggie Perrin, a re-make of classic 1970s British situation comedy The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. In 2015, Martin played the role of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the ITV mini-series Arthur & George.


Clunes played Brock in the 1990 film The Russia House. He played Richard Burbage in the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love, and Anthony Staxton-Billing in Sweet Revenge the same year. In 2000, Clunes played the role of Dr. Martin Bamford in the film Saving Grace, and the follow up to that film "Doc Martin" The following year (2001), he played James Chancellor in Global Heresy.

In 2011, Clunes voiced the mischievous dog Dudley in the short film Me or the Dog, starring Edward Hogg and directed by Abner Pastoll. Clunes then starred in the 2014 film Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?.


In 2008, Clunes presented Martin Clunes: A Man and his Dogs, which was aired on 24 August 2008.[19] In 2009, Clunes presented a three-part ITV series Islands of Britain, which saw him travelling around several of the country's lesser known islands.

In 2010, Clunes presented ITV mini-series Horsepower about man's relationship over time with the horse. This was followed by Heavy Horsepower which aired in 2013.[20][21]

In January 2011, Clunes presented documentary Martin Clunes: Man to Manta.[22]

In June 2012, Clunes presented a documentary series on ITV about the lemurs of Madagascar called Martin Clunes: The Lemurs of Madagascar.

On 31 January 2013, Clunes narrated ITV documentary Secret Life of Dogs. Then, on 2 and 3 June 2014, he narrated two more follow-up documentaries, Secret Life of Cats and Secret Life of Babies.[23]

On 4 April 2014, Clunes hosted a one-off ITV documentary called Martin Clunes & A Lion Called Mugie, following the work of conservationists in Kenya as well as tracking the progress of a lion called Mugie. The documentary was filmed over a period of three years.[24]

In August 2014, Clunes narrated ITV's three-part documentary series Kids with Cameras: Diary of a Children's Ward which saw Newcastle's children's ward through the eyes of its patients.[25]

On 3 December 2013, it was announced that Clunes will narrate a three-part documentary series called Islands of Oz, to be filmed in Australia in 2014, for Australia's Seven Network. Production company, Prospero Productions, explained that the series "follows acclaimed actor and comedian Martin Clunes as he explores the most diverse, intriguing, remote and spectacular islands that surround Australia".[26]

In April 2015, Clunes narrated Carry on Forever, a three-part documentary series for ITV3. It was shown over the Easter weekend.[27]

In May 2015, Clunes presented Man & Beast with Martin Clunes, a two-part factual series for ITV, which looked at the relationship between humans and animals.[28]

In 2016, he narrated Rising Damp Forever, a two-part documentary series for ITV3. He also voiced ITV programmes Secrets of Growing Old, Secrets of Growing Up and Britain's Favourite Dogs.


Year Title Role Awards
1983 Doctor Who Lon Serial: Snakedance
1990–1992 Harry Enfield's Television Programme Various characters
1991 Jeeves and Wooster Barmy Fotheringay Phipps
1992 Inspector Morse James Balcombe
1992–1998 Men Behaving Badly Gary Strang British Comedy Award for Top TV Comedy Actor (1995)

BAFTA Award for Best Comedy Performance (1996)

1993 Demob Dick Dobson
1994– Have I Got News for You Guest presenter/panellist
1997–2000 Kipper Kipper
2002 A Is for Acid John Haigh
2003–2005 William and Mary William Shawcross
2004—2017 Doc Martin Dr. Martin Ellingham British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Actor (2004)
2007 The Man Who Lost His Head British Lawyer
2008 Martin Clunes: A Man and His Dogs Presenter
2009 Islands of Britain Presenter Three-part series
2009–2010 Reggie Perrin Reginald "Reggie" Perrin
2010 Martin Clunes: Horsepower Presenter Mini-series
2011 Martin Clunes: Man to Manta Presenter
2012 Martin Clunes: The Lemurs of Madagascar Presenter Mini-series
A Mother's Son Ben [29]
The Town Len Robson
2012 Room on the Broom Dog (voice)
2013 Strike Back: Shadow Warfare Sebastian Grey
Martin Clunes: Heavy Horsepower Presenter One-off episode
Secret Life of Dogs Narrator One-off episode
2014 Martin Clunes & A Lion Called Mugie Presenter One-off episode
Secret Life of Cats Narrator One-off episode
Secret Life of Babies Narrator One-off episode
Kids with Cameras: Diary of a Children's Ward Narrator Three-part series
2015 Arthur & George Arthur Conan Doyle Three-part drama series
Carry on Forever Narrator Three-part series
Man & Beast with Martin Clunes Presenter Two-part series
Secret Life of Twins Narrator One-off episode
2016 Rising Damp Forever Narrator Two-part series
Secrets of Growing Old Narrator One-off episode
Secrets of Growing Up Narrator One-off episode
Britain's Favourite Dogs Narrator One-off episode
Islands of Oz Presenter Mini-series
Year Title Role Awards
1990 The Russia House Brock
1992 Carry On Columbus Martin
1993 Dancing Queen Donald
1993 Swing Kids Bannführer
1994 Staggered Neil
1998 The Acid House Rory
Shakespeare in Love Richard Burbage
Sweet Revenge Anthony Staxton-Billing
1999 Hunting Venus Simon Delancy
2000 Saving Grace Dr. Martin Bamford
2001 Doc Martin Dr. Martin Bamford
2001 Global Heresy James Chancellor
2002 Goodbye, Mr. Chips Mr. Chipping
2014 Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?[30] Jeremy Shepherd

Personal life

Clunes' first marriage was to actress Lucy Aston in 1990.[31] They divorced in 1997 and Clunes married future Doc Martin producer Philippa Braithwaite late that year.[32] In 1999, Braithwaite gave birth to their daughter Emily.[33][34] Clunes lives with his family in Beaminster, Dorset[35] where they run a farm with heavy horses.[36] He became President of the British Horse Society on 1 June 2011.[37]

Clunes enjoys the music of Frank Zappa, as stated on his episode of Desert Island Discs, wherein one of his selections was "Doreen" from Zappa's album You Are What You Is.


A sponsor of numerous charities, Clunes made a short on-line film with Stephen Fry about HIV discrimination for the Terrence Higgins Trust.[38] Clunes supports Weldmar Hospicecare Trust in Dorset.[39] The Buckham Fair is organised in support of the charity.[40] In January 2011, Clunes became Patron of Animal Care in Egypt.[41] Clunes is also a patron of the Born Free Foundation and has filmed several adverts for the wildlife charity. He has been involved in the Comic Relief charity which funds Survival International and African Initiatives, two organisations working with the Maasai on indigenous land rights issues. [42] Clunes is also a celebrity supporter of The Dog Rescue Federation.[43]

Awards and honours


  1. This was revealed on an episode of 'The Jonathan Ross Show, dated 28 February 2015.
  2. "Martin Clunes". Desert Island Discs. 18 September 2011. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. Chips Off The Old Bloke; He made his name behaving badly – Page1 Sunday Herald – 15 December 2002
  4. Camilla Palmer (28 March 2014). "Martin Clunes: My family values". The Guardian.
  5. Stephenson, David. "Martin Clunes: 'Everything becomes difficult at my age'". Express. Northern and Shell Media Publications. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  6. 1 2 Between The Sheets – No More Mr Nice Guy National Theatre
  7. "DVD247 - The World". 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  8. Martin Clunes Playlist
  9. "– All at No 20 cast list". Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  10. Martin Clunes - Drinking Songs on YouTube
  11. "How we made Men Behaving Badly". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  12. "BAFTA Awards (1996)"., Inc. An company.
  13. "BBC One - Have I Got News for You, Series 46, Episode 10". 13 December 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  14. "BBC One - Have I Got News for You, Series 47, Episode 4". 25 April 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  15. Chips Off The Old Bloke; He made his name behaving badly – Page3 Sunday Herald – 15 December 2002
  16. Dirty Tricks (2000) (TV)
  17. "Doc Martin" (2004) – Episode list
  18. "A close encounter with Martin Clunes". The Sunday Star-Times. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  19. "Horsepower With Martin Clunes" ITV web site, 22 August 2010
  20. "Martin Clunes' admits work worries - News, Entertainment". 4 June 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  21. Alice-Azania Jarvis (7 January 2011). "Last Night's TV: Martin Clunes: Man to Manta/ITV1The Sinking of the Laconia/BBC2How Drugs Work/BBC3 - Reviews - TV & Radio". The Independent. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  22. 9.00pm - 10.00pm (3 June 2014). "Secret Life of Babies Episode 1 | presscentre". Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  23. 9.00pm - 10.00pm (4 April 2014). "Martin Clunes & A Lion Called Mugie Episode 1 | presscentre". Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  24. Knox, David (3 December 2013). "Martin Clunes to front Seven doco series". TV Tonight. David Knox. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  27. A Mother's Son at the Internet Movie Database
  28. Vonledebur, Catherine (21 January 2014). "Coventry director Debbie Isitt starts filming Nativity 3: Dude Where's My Donkey?". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  29. "England & Wales, Marriage Index, 1916-2005: Marriage of Clunes to Aston 1990". Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  30. "Telly talk: Clunes enjoys affairs of the heart". Manchester Evening News. 16 February 2007.
  31. Chloe Scott-Moncrieff in conversation with… Martin Clunes.(Interview) Geographical, April 2005 by Scott-Moncrieff, Chloe
  32. Celebrity interview: Martin Clunes – Page2
  33. Around Dorset: Martin Clunes BBC Dorset – 11 October 2004
  34. Martin Clunes to be next BHS President BHS
  35. Terrence Higgins Trust – Gloves Off – Video – Stephen Fry and Martin Clunes – The Scale of Mimsy
  36. Weldmar Hospicecare Trust web site
  37. Animal Care in Egypt web site
  38. "Celeb appeal". developments magazine. Retrieved 18 July 2007.
  39. "Supporters of The". Dog Rescue Federation. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
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