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Martin Clunes voices concern over time-pressured doctors

Martin Clunes (Ian West/PA)
Martin Clunes (Ian West/PA)

Martin Clunes – famous for his role in Doc Martin – has voiced his concern that real-life doctors are not able to spend enough time with patients.

Clunes, 57, has played bad-tempered GP Dr Ellingham in the ITV drama for 15 years.

He said that when his daughter was young, his own GP took time to speak to patients about then fears over MMR.

“There’s this terrible thing about doctors not having time with patients,” the former Men Behaving Badly star told Radio Times magazine.

“When my daughter was two, it was the first time that the MMR debate flared up. People were saying, ‘This gives your child autism’…

“He’s retired now, but Dr Goodheart at our GP surgery gave us half an hour of his time and spoke to us.

“He said, ‘If I distilled everything good I’ve done as a doctor, the two best things are to stop people smoking and vaccinate their children’. I said, ‘Thanks very much’ and never looked back’.”

Clunes admitted that playing a GP occasionally rubbed off on his personal life.

“Sometimes I ask people questions about the medication they are taking. My daughter goes, ‘Daddy, stop it! You’re not a doctor’,” he told the magazine.

He said his TV role as a cantankerous GP meant it was embarrassing to visit his own GP practice.

“I cling to the wall – they know who I am and what I do”, he said.

The star said he is “pretty good at dealing” with fame, adding: “Very early on, you experiment. I was once dismissive to someone and saw how crushed they were. I thought, ‘You didn’t need to do that, did you?’ I didn’t mean to crush them, it was just a flip.”

Clunes added: “When I started, fame wasn’t a goal and I wasn’t aware of anybody just seeking fame, it came as a by-product. Though, having not sought popularity, it would be awful to be suddenly unpopular.”

The full interview is in this week’s Radio Times magazine.

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