DoctorDoctor Who Guide

Martin Clunes

Last updated 06 October 2015

Martin Clunes - Image Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Image Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images (this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

Alexander Martin Clunes

Born: Tue 28th November 1961 (age: 54)


Martin Clunes is a British actor, 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 around animals.

Early life

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


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

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

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). Enfield then recommended Clunes for the role of Gary in the sitcom Men Behaving Badly, written for Enfield by Simon Nye, bringing Clunes his best-known role to date and for which he won a BAFTA television award in 1996. 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 had 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.

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.

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).

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.

Clunes is a regular voice over artist and is the voice of Kipper in the animated children's series Kipper the Dog.

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 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 The Revengers' Comedies the same year. In 2000, Clunes played the role of Dr. Martin Bamford in the film Saving Grace. 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. 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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".

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

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.

Personal life

Clunes' first marriage was to the actress Lucy Aston in 1990. They divorced in 1997 and Clunes married future Doc Martin producer Philippa Braithwaite late that year. In 1999, Braithwaite gave birth to their daughter, Emily. Clunes lives with his family in Beaminster, Dorset. He became President of the British Horse Society on 1 June 2011.

Clunes supports Weldmar Hospicecare Trust in Dorset. In January 2011, Clunes also became Patron of Animal Care in Egypt. He 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. He 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. Clunes is also a celebrity supporter of The Dog Rescue Federation.

Biography from the wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA