Warren – BBC1

Martin Clunes stars as driving instructor Warren Thompson, who is forced to move from the south up to Preston when his partner Anne's father falls ill

Martin Clunes stars as driving instructor Warren Thompson in a new comedy drama

Martin Clunes swaps grumpy Doc Martin for moaning driving instructor Warren in this sitcom about a stingy stepdad whose glass is always half empty.

Warren loves long-suffering partner Anne, but her two boys are a constant annoyance.

Tonight he has 
a brainwave: if he forces one of them to get a job at the garden centre, he can exploit the staff discount for his new pond! But things don’t go to plan…

TV Times rating: ****

Warren

Martin Clunes as instructor Warren

Here, Martin, 57, tells TV Times why, despite his initial reservations, he felt compelled to say yes to playing Warren…

How would you describe Warren?

Warren is self-satisfied, completely without conscience, short-sighted and awful!

But he’s joyous to play. 
He’s completely unsympathetic 
but he does love his partner Anne [played by The A Word’s Lisa Millett], who is just adorable.

He gets himself in such a pickle and she gets him out of it with her common sense, because he gets quite worked up – they’re mutually dependent.

There are bits of Warren that I admire, actually, a bit like Doc Martin – I wish I had the confidence to be that rude to people! He’s partly based on our writer’s father…

Warren’s not impressed by life up North, is he?

No, he is an isolated, embittered Londoner always keen to moan about the North!

Plus there are the classic sitcom elements 
of neighbours 
and in-laws to contend with. As a devout Southerner, 
I felt like becoming a Northerner by the end of the job.

The cast were so warm and great to work with.

He’s not much of a father figure to Anne’s sons, Danny and Charlie…

He always likes to point out that the boys aren’t stepsons because he and Anne aren’t married.

Warren sees the boys as people he has to tolerate, even though he’d rather not.

He then starts to think, ‘If I have to put up with them, what’s 
in it for me?’ So he makes Charlie go for a job at the garden centre, so he can get the staff discount!