It is no secret that I’m a big-time fan of Martin Clunes.  For those who don’t know (there are lots of you, no doubt), Martin Clunes is an accomplished actor who’s  practiced his craft for a few decades now.  Much of his work can be found on British television, and lately he’s best known for Doc Martin, a ridiculously popular comedy drama that has aired in Great Britain for nearly 15 yea12185454_970029023040726_77162566738904240_ors.  As an actor, Martin Clunes is a master of physical comedy and subtle facial expression, and he’s a joy to watch on Doc Martin.  He’s portrayed a cartoon puppy, a swinger, a sad bachelor, and a serial killer (chillingly) and lots of other things.   I admire his tremendous talent, but also his professionalism.  His long career didn’t just fall in his lap.

Doc Martin is produced by Buffalo Pictures, which is a partnership between Martin and his wife, Philippa Braithwaite.  He says she’s the brains and details.  I think this man is slightly more savvy than many think, and the work he and his wife have done together is first class.  I’m hoping to see more documentaries, even though I’m sure they’re not huge money-makers and may be hard sell to networks focused on the bottom line.  Regardless, these two people work clearly compliment one another professionally.  As far as I can tell, their personal life is far more normal than some of our celebrities here.  I admire the groundedness of this family. Its cool that they don’t seek the spotlight.

My friends say he’s not the most attractive man.  Those who’ve met him tell me he’s incredibly charismatic.  Pretty standard for an actor – that presence is kind of necessary on the screen, isn’t it?  Well, he’s tall and has green eyes and graying blond hair, neither of which I’d complain about. The man loves dogs and horses and children and has a silly streak – how could anybody not like that? And yes, he’s got those ears and self-proclaimed “child-bearing lips” (remember I said savvy…?).

But, well, I’ve always been taken by the doing rather than the being.  Martin and Philippa hold an annual fair on their property, raising huge amounts of money for three charities.  Two of those charities are hospices.  Those who know me well are aware that hospice has a special place in my heart.  I’ve volunteered with a local hospice for years.  My dog was a therapy dog and wagged her tail through all kinds of places and solicited pats and hugs and smiles and joyful eyes from all kinds of folks.

Take a look at these photos, recently taken at Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Dorset. Martin Clunes brought Heidi, Arthur, Penny and Jim by for a visit with some of of the residents.

Martin and his Dogs Visit Julia’s House

So, I know, you’re saying yeah, yeah, what celebrity doesn’t support charity – they need the tax write-off and the PR.  I get that.  So here’s the deal… I get to decide whether I think Martin Clunes does all this just for the photo-op (and yes, there was a photographer there) or because he genuinely enjoys what he’s doing.  I’ve  decided to go with… both.   Yes, the reality is that his job requires him to be visible. But hey folks, he showed up at the Julia’s House Children’s Hospice (one of the charities he and Philippa support) with his four dogs in tow, wearing ordinary-people clothing and a smile.  And the photos we see show the kind of interaction I would love to manage when I visit patients.  Even naysayers who claim he’s a talented actor and that’s what he’s doing – even they cannot tell me those kids aren’t engaged and exited and enjoying themselves.  The man brings joy to sick children.

How can I not love that?

Now you know why I am aMartin Clunes fan.