Martin Clunes

Alexander Martin Clunes, OBE (born 28 November 1961) is an English actor, television presenter, film director and comedian. 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.

Martin Clunes

Clunes on location for Doc Martin in 2007
Alexander Martin Clunes

(1961-11-28) 28 November 1961
ResidenceBeaminster, Dorset, England
EducationRoyal Russell School
Arts Educational Schools
OccupationActor, television presenter, film director
Years active1982–present
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[1]
Lucy Aston
(m. 1990; div. 1997)

Parent(s)Alec Clunes (deceased)
Daphne Acott (deceased)

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 in Dorset.

Early life

Clunes was born in Wimbledon, London, in November 1961, the son of respected actor Alec Clunes.[3][4] Clunes was educated at the Royal Russell School in Croydon, London, and later at the Arts Educational Schools, London. He has an older sister Amanda.[5] He is a cousin of the actor Jeremy Brett. Clunes' father died of lung cancer when Clunes was eight years old.[6][7]


Clunes served his first role in rep at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester,[8] and his first television appearance came in the 1983 Doctor Who story Snakedance.[8] 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.[9]

He got his first regular television role as one of the sons in the BBC sitcom No Place Like Home,[10] and then starred in two series of the sitcom All at No 20.[11]

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).[12] Enfield then recommended Clunes for the role of Gary in the sitcom Men Behaving Badly,[13] written for Enfield by Simon Nye, for which Clunes won a BAFTA television award for Best Comedy Performance in 1996.[14] He played the part of Group Captain Barker in the two-part TV mini-series Over Here that same year. In 1993, he played Dick Dobson in Demob about a pair of demobilised soldiers who have to adjust to civilian life after entertaining Second World War 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.[15][16]

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 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.[17]

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).[18]

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

In August 2007, Clunes starred in the ITV/TVNZ co-production The Man Who Lost His Head.[19]

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, Clunes played the role of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the ITV mini-series Arthur & George. In 2018, Clunes played the role of DCI Colin Sutton in the ITV drama Manhunt (first screened in 2019).[20] In 2019, Clunes return to sitcom with the BBC1 series Warren, saying "It was just so funny, I couldn't turn it down".[21]


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.[22] 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.[23][24]

In January 2011, Clunes presented documentary Martin Clunes: Man to Manta.[25]

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.[26]

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.[27]

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.[28]

In April 2015, Clunes narrated Carry on Forever, a three part documentary series for ITV3. It was shown over the Easter weekend.[29]

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.[30]

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.

Also in 2016, Martin Clunes: Islands of Australia (also known as Islands of Oz) was released as a three part Australian documentary television series produced by Prospero Productions for the Seven Network that "follows acclaimed actor and comedian Martin Clunes as he explores the most diverse, intriguing, remote and spectacular islands that surround Australia."[31]

Personal life

Clunes' first marriage was to actress Lucy Aston in 1990.[32] They divorced in 1997 and Clunes married future Doc Martin producer Philippa Braithwaite late that year.[33] In 1998, Braithwaite gave birth to their daughter Emily.[34][35] Clunes lives with his family in Beaminster, Dorset[36] where they run a farm with heavy horses.[37] He became president of the British Horse Society on 1 June 2011.[38]


A sponsor of numerous charities, Clunes made a short on-line film with Stephen Fry about HIV discrimination for the Terrence Higgins Trust.[39] Clunes supports Weldmar Hospicecare Trust in Dorset and is a Patron of Julia's House, the Dorset and Wiltshire children's hospice.[40] The Buckham Fair is organised in support of these charities.[41] In January 2011, Clunes became patron of Animal Care in Egypt.[42]

Clunes was a patron of the Born Free Foundation but was dropped when footage emerged of him riding an elephant in mid May 2019. He had 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.[43] Clunes is also a celebrity supporter of The Dog Rescue Federation.[44]


Year Title Role Awards
1983 Doctor Who Serial: Snakedance Lon
1983–1986 No Place Like Home Nigel Crabtree
1990–1994 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
1993 Lovejoy Anthony Drury
1994– Have I Got News for You Guest presenter/panellist
1997–2000 Kipper Kipper
1998 Touch and Go (1998 TV Movie) Nick Wood
2002 A Is for Acid John Haigh
2003–2005 William and Mary William Shawcross
2004–2019 Doc Martin Dr. Martin Ellingham British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Drama (2004)
2006 Losing It Phil MacNaughton TV movie
2007 The Man Who Lost His Head Ian Bennett
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
2012 Martin Clunes: The Lemurs of Madagascar Mini-series
A Mother's Son Ben[45]
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
2013– Secret Life of Narrator
2014 Martin Clunes & A Lion Called Mugie Presenter One-off episode
Kids with Cameras: Diary of a Children's Ward Narrator Three-part series
2015 Arthur & George Arthur Conan Doyle Drama series
Carry On Forever Narrator Three-part series
Man & Beast with Martin Clunes Presenter Two-part series
2016 Rising Damp Forever Narrator
Secrets of Growing Old One-off episode
Secrets of Growing Up
Britain's Favourite Dogs
Les Dawson Forever Two-part series
2017 Martin Clunes: Islands of Australia Presenter Mini-series
Morecambe & Wise Forever Narrator Two-part series
Tommy Cooper Forever
2018 Vanity Fair[46] Sir Pitt Crawley Drama series
2019 Manhunt[47] DCI Colin Sutton
Martin Clunes: Island of America Presenter Four part series
2019 Warren[48] Warren Thompson Sitcom
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
1999 Sex 'n' Death Ben Black
2000 Saving Grace Dr. Martin Bamford
2001 Doc Martin Dr. Martin Bamford
2002 Global Heresy James Chancellor
2002 Goodbye, Mr. Chips Mr. Chipping
2014 Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?[49] Jeremy Shepherd

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. "Martin Clunes. Biography, news, photos and videos". Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  4. BBC. "BBC - Comedy - People A-Z - Martin Clunes". Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  5. Chips Off The Old Bloke; He made his name behaving badly – Page1 Sunday Herald – 15 December 2002
  6. Camilla Palmer (28 March 2014). "Martin Clunes: My family values". The Guardian.
  7. Stephenson, David. "Martin Clunes: 'Everything becomes difficult at my age'". Express. Northern and Shell Media Publications. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  8. Between The Sheets – No More Mr Nice Guy Archived 2 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine National Theatre
  9. "DVD247 – The World". 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  10. Martin Clunes Playlist Archived 28 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. "– All at No 20 cast list". Archived from the original on 4 February 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  12. Martin Clunes – Drinking Songs on YouTube
  13. "How we made Men Behaving Badly". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  14. "Television - Comedy Performance in 1996". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  15. "BBC One – Have I Got News for You, Series 46, Episode 10". 13 December 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  16. "BBC One – Have I Got News for You, Series 47, Episode 4". 25 April 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  17. Chips Off The Old Bloke; He made his name behaving badly – Page3 Sunday Herald – 15 December 2002
  18. "Dirty Tricks". 24 September 2000. Retrieved 16 March 2017 via IMDb.
  19. "A close encounter with Martin Clunes". The Sunday Star-Times. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  20. Houghton, Rianne (20 September 2017). "Martin Clunes to star in drama about Milly Dowler case". Digital Spy.
  21. "Sitcom too funny to turn down".
  22. "Martin Clunes: A Man and His Dogs". 24 August 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2017 via IMDb.
  23. "Horsepower With Martin Clunes" Archived 23 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine ITV web site, 22 August 2010
  24. "Martin Clunes' admits work worries – News, Entertainment". 4 June 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  25. 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.
  26. "Secret Life of Babies Episode 1 | presscentre". 3 June 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  27. "Martin Clunes & A Lion Called Mugie Episode 1 | presscentre". 4 April 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  28. "Kids With Cameras: Diary of a Children's Ward Episode 1". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  29. "ITV3 plans Easter Carry On weekend with new documentary". British Comedy Guide. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  30. "Man & Beast with Martin Clunes Episode 1". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  31. Knox, David (3 December 2013). "Martin Clunes to front Seven doco series". TV Tonight. David Knox. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  32. "England & Wales, Marriage Index, 1916–2005: Marriage of Clunes to Aston 1990". Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  33. "Telly talk: Clunes enjoys affairs of the heart". Manchester Evening News. 16 February 2007. Archived from the original on 31 October 2013.
  34. Chloe Scott-Moncrieff in conversation with… Martin Clunes.(Interview) Geographical, April 2005 by Scott-Moncrieff, Chloe
  35. Celebrity interview: Martin Clunes – Page2 Archived 12 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  36. Around Dorset: Martin Clunes BBC Dorset – 11 October 2004
  37. "Martin Clunes on Heavy Horse Power, tractors and being more James Herriot than Doc Martin". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  38. Martin Clunes to be next BHS President BHS
  39. "Terrence Higgins Trust – Glopves Off – Video – Stephen Fry and Martin Clunes – The Scale of Mimsy". Archived from the original on 23 February 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  40. Weldmar Hospicecare Trust web site
  41. "Buckham Fair". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  42. Animal Care in Egypt web site
  43. "Celeb appeal". developments magazine. Archived from the original on 28 July 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2007.
  44. "Supporters of The". Dog Rescue Federation. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  45. A Mother's Son on IMDb
  46. McCreesh, Louise (25 September 2017). "ITV reveals its star-studded Vanity Fair cast". Digital Spy.
  47. "ITV commissions new drama Manhunt, starring Martin Clunes". Press Centre.
  48. "BBC - Martin Clunes' brand new comedy vehicle Warren set for BBC One - Media Centre".
  49. Vonledebur, Catherine (21 January 2014). "Coventry director Debbie Isitt starts filming Nativity 3: Dude Where's My Donkey?". Coventry Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  50. "Latest Devon News -". Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  51. "Dorset's Martin Clunes awarded OBE". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
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