Martin Clunes: ‘Why I refuse to play a TV detective’

Martin Clunes has said he finds the idea of playing a detective or acting in a period drama a TV turn off – despite starring in the upcoming Arthur And George.

The Men Behaving Badly star plays Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the upcoming drama based on Julian Barnes’ novel and adapted for TV by Martin’s wife Philippa Braithwaite.

It follows a real-life miscarriage of justice case which the Sherlock author pursued in later life, so ticks many of the boxes for both detective and period drama.

Arthur & GeorgeMartin Clunes plays Arthur alongside Arsher Ali as George (ITV)

But Martin said: “Telly loves detectives. I get asked at least once a year to play a detective. I just could not take myself seriously if I played any kind of copper.

“It’s good to know your limits. I just couldn’t go around arresting people! It would be the end, wouldn’t it?”

The 53-year-old president of the British Horse Society added: “There’s so much Victoriana on telly at the moment, isn’t there? It’s so boring. People do the same thing, over and over again.

Arthur & GeorgeMartin as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (ITV)

“Another bugbear of mine is that you see the same horse pulling every bloody carriage with the same harness [in these dramas]. We’ve had some fantastic horses in this [series], really lovely ones, and all sorts as well.”

However, Martin admitted that he would be happy to come back to the period drama: “This is really good, because it’s quite hard, and it’s a boot up the a**e. It reminds me what I like about my job.”

Arthur And George begins on Monday 2 March on ITV at 9.00pm

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