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Martin Clunes interview
Martin Clunes, who lives in West Dorset, became one of the county's most famous 'lads' when he starred in Men Behaving Badly. In this interview from October 2004, BBC Radio Solent's Peter White speaks to him about his career.
Martin Clunes has one of the best known faces on TV. The 42 year old was the county's most famous 'lad' playing Gary alongside Neil Morrissey in Men Behaving Badly in what became one of the biggest comedy hits of the 1990s.
He now lives in a converted vicarage in West Dorset with his wife, film producer Philippa Braithwaite, and four-year-old daughter Emily and plays an active role as an ambassador for the Prince's Trust in Bournemouth.
He is passionate in his support of the work of the Trust: "It's so worthwhile, it sounds gushing and luvvie, but it's true!"
Martin Clunes with Neil Morrisey
"It's one of those charities that helps people who fall through the net a bit and didn't do so well at school, got caught up in crime or drugs or who may write themselves off – and have low self worth.
"The Trust gives them back self worth – not by giving them a handout, they get loans which they have to pay back and they get advice on starting a business.
"People get dealt some really bad hands. I've been really lucky, but I'm very aware that not everyone is that lucky and the best thing you can do is help catch some of those people who have fallen through the net.
"I don't have much of an expertise, I'm just a bloke off the telly which is sometimes useful for raising funds but more importantly kids might want to come and see a bloke of the telly, and while they are there, can find out more about the Trust."
As well as playing the lager-quaffing Gary in Man Behaving Badly, Martin has had staring roles in William and Mary and Goodbye Mister Chips.
This autumn his latest role is the curmudgeonly Doc Martin who leaves his life as a London surgeon to work as a GP in a sleepy Cornish village.
It's another move away from the studio based sit-com to a more subtle comedy: "It's the sort of humour I like - it takes you by surprise.
"The laughs come out of genuine characters and situations. There is more than just a grumpy man in there – he knows he’s rude and abrupt."
But it is Men Behaving Badly which Martin is most strongly associated with.
The show finished in 1998 but is constantly analysed as being a microcosm of lad culture and the battle of the sexes, but Martin is more simplistic about its success: "It's cos it was funny I think – it pretended to have had that agenda between men and women, but it is a rich seam for comedy.
"It gives it a universality, there are lots of boy and girl couples so there was a lot of recognition, but there was a lot of county ladies who watched it as well!"
"It took a while to take off – they repeated the third series straight after Ab Fab so we got all the lazy people who couldn't be bothered to change channel!
"We kept a lot of that audience and that led to out fourth series which I think was the best and the funniest, then it went bonkers.
"The publicity machine went mental, we were asked for comments on serious matters of the day – I only did it cos it was funny!"
Listen to the Martin Clunes interview in full - click on the audio link on the right.
last updated: 25/05/2009 at 12:40