A new drama series, which the UK’s ITV are starting filming on next year, is based around an imaginary restitution case involving the British Museum & a Maori tribe. If nothing else, it should help to raise the profile of the numerous restitution cases involving the museum.
(Relevant paragraphs are at the end of the article)
Manchester Evening News 
Wednesday, 16th August 2006
On his best behaviour
MARTIN Clunes was delighted when he received an invite to perform at Buckingham Palace. “It was fantastic, I’m a huge royalist,” he grins.
“I absolutely adore the Queen. The first time I met her, I think I really put her off. I was just too excited. And you could see her thinking: `We’ve got a grinner!’ She moved on, wisely I think.”
His royal command was to play the role of Pc Plod at June’s Children’s Party At The Palace, part of the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations. Martin took young daughter Emily with him.
“Emily was even more excited about meeting Mary Poppins, than seeing the Queen,” he laughs.
The Doc Martin star is back on screen next month, playing a man who discovers he has testicular cancer, in a bittersweet drama called Losing It (ITV1, September).
It’s written by former advertising executive Paul Mendelson, the creator of My Hero and May to December, and based on his own real life story. Martin plays ad copywriter Phil, a father-of-two married to Nancy (Holly Aird).
The one-off film is both funny and revealing about what happens when someone in the family has to deal with cancer.
“The drama is not maudlin or gloomy,” Martin points out. “It is filled with hope and light.”
Even so, he did experience some darker moments while filming radiotherapy scenes at a hospital in Bristol.
“I can’t imagine what it must be like to be diagnosed with cancer, but I’ve had to. When you are having treatment, you are on your own, and it can be so isolating. I called a close friend of mine who survived breast cancer three or four years ago and asked her about her personal feelings about having radiotherapy. Scared and lonely about summed it up.
“Being in the radiotherapy room was harrowing. They put you under this Goldfinger machine and run out of the room. You do feel scared and lonely – and I didn’t even have cancer, and the machine wasn’t switched on. It was terribly lonely.”
Although he is an ambassador for Macmillan Cancer Support and also supports Cancer Research, that had nothing to do with him taking the role.
“I’m an actor and this was the next job I did. It’s about the story, which shows how it has a massive impact on the whole family, not just him, and that life goes on.”
Martin is about to return to the role of Dr Martin Ellingham to film a one-off special of Doc Martin – followed by a series next year – having taken this summer off.
He had been due to make From Stockport With Love, an ITV1 comedy drama based on local author David Bowker’s novel about a Hazel Grove man who fantasises about James Bond.
Filming was set to start last May, with the drama made for TV by Buffalo Pictures, the company Martin owns with producer wife Philippa Braithwaite.
“It’s sort of on ice,” he told me. “I don’t know if it’ll rear its head.
“We had a commission for it but we hadn’t got the script right. It was a novel that potentially would make a good film. But we still haven’t found a way of doing that.”
He’s also not sure about ever returning to work on a straight comedy, such as Men Behaving Badly.
“Maybe it’s best to leave my sitcom experience where it is, although I have to say I’ve been watching the repeats of Men Behaving Badly. And with this amount of distance, I’ve been laughing like a git, which I shouldn’t own up to, really. But I don’t remember what anyone’s going to say next. I remember that bad jumper, but that’s about it. And it is pretty funny.”
Next year he’ll be travelling to New Zealand to film an ITV1 drama called Headcases. “I’m practically the only non-Maori in it. So that’s going to be new and exciting.
“It’s a sort of Elgin Marbles thing – a small Maori village has a small head of one of their gods in an English museum, and they want it back. So I get sent over to tell them that they don’t have the facilities to accommodate it. But I end up being wooed by them and helping them to get it back.
“Mind you, It’s all change at ITV. I could be at the dole office soon.”