Martin Clunes details why Prince Philip led to change on new series: ‘More poignant now’

Martin Clunes discusses finishing Doc Martin on This Morning

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Martin Clunes is set to embark on an epic ocean wide adventure in search of the real Pacific in a new documentary for ITV. The voyage is inspired by reading a book given to him as a child about the Kon-Tiki expedition across the Pacific Ocean. Martin opened up about the challenge of filming the series during a worldwide pandemic and how Prince Philip’s death led to a huge change within the series.

Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Martin touched on the impact Prince Philip’s death had on the series and the changes they had to make.

He explained: “Another thing we had to change was a section with the Yakel people, who for many years have seen the Duke of Edinburgh as a god.

“Those scenes were filmed before Prince Philip died, so what seemed amusing when he was alive is much more poignant now.

“But I reached out to the Duke when I got back and sent him a photo of me with the whole tribe under a huge tree, and I said his influence was obviously a force for good.

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“And he sent a message back saying he was glad I enjoyed my time there.”

Touching on the pandemic, Martin explained as they were filming the series towards the end of 2019, the rumours began to swirl of the “Chinese flu”.

He mentioned the eery feeling of walking through the empty halls as they flew back from Fiji and Tonga in early 2020.

The pandemic meant there were delays caused in the production of the series, which led to even bigger changes throughout the series.

One change they had to make was to go back and do new voiceovers referencing Covid because they had to justify and inform the audience why they weren’t all wearing masks.

The three-part series begins on January 13 on ITV and episode one sees Martin beginning his new adventure in French Polynesia and flying into the biggest island, Tahiti.

The description for the first episode reads: “French Polynesia is a collection of 118 islands and atolls spread over a distance of 1.5million square miles.

“Martin visits the estate where the owner is developing a new grape suited to the unique growing conditions of Tahiti and tastes the wine he produces.

“Martin travels onto Rangiroa, one of the largest atolls in the Pacific, with a reputation for having the best sea life anywhere in the world.

“Accompanied by a guide, Martin swims in the ‘aquarium’ in Rangiroa Lagoon before heading to ‘Shark City’ to swim with blacktip reef sharks.”

Back in 2016, Martin hosted the three-part documentary series Martin Clunes: Islands of Australia (also known as Islands of Oz), which was adapted from Martin’s other show, Islands of Britain. 

The show followed Martin exploring various islands off the Australian mainland.

Martin has presented a whole host of documentaries which include My Travels and Other Animals, which was a 12-part series, where he learned how to look after the planets most vulnerable animals.

In 2008 he presented Martin Clunes: A Man and his Dogs, where he expressed his enthusiasm for the canine pets and went on to narrate the documentary Secret Life of Dogs in 2013, which led to Secret Life of Cats and Secret Life of Babies.

Other animal-related documentaries narrated by Martin have included Martin Clunes and A Lion Called Mugie, which followed conservation work in Kenya.

Martin Clunes: Man to Manta, Martin Clunes: The Lemurs of Madagascar, Britain’s Favourite Dogs and Man and Beast with Martin Clunes are also on the Doc Martin star’s CV.

Martin Clunes: Islands of the Pacific airs Thursday, January 13, at 9pm on ITV. 

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