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GOOD NUDES FOR CLUNES; For wife-swapping drama Touch And Go, Martin Clunes had to get his kit off yet again. He bares all to Phil Tusler about his swinging career move.

Martin Clunes lies naked on a bed, having added another woman to his list of conquests. He leans over and plants a seductive kiss on the lips of the blonde, then says his farewells.

Twenty-four hours later, he's at it again - this time with a different woman in another bed. And then it's back home to the wife.

But this is not a return to Martin's hell-raising past. His bed-hopping is confined to the drama Touch And Go, which is shown on BBC2 on Tuesday at 9pm.

"This bloke I play has every woman he comes across," says Martin, 35. "Not that I'd ever consider wife-swapping. Besides, I don't think the missus would approve."

The "missus" is producer Philippa Braithwaite. They met filming Staggered four years ago, following the break-up of Martin's first marriage to actress Lucy Aston. They had only been married a few months when Martin took on the part of swinger Nick Wood in Touch And Go, which required him to spend his working days naked in bed with other women.

"She wasn't very keen about it but these things have to be done," Martin smiles. "You know how you ask, 'What did you do at work today?' That was awkward. I could've said, 'I went to bed with these wonderful women' but I don't think it was quite what she wanted to hear. Luckily, not a lot fazes her, or me.

"I'm not sure whether she'll watch it when it comes out - I know I won't. I'm proud of the film but I'm sick of watching my stupid face."

It's not the first time Martin has appeared naked for the cameras - for Staggered, TV drama Neville's Island and even Men Behaving Badly he has stripped off. But not even he was prepared for the amount of nudity he'd be required to do for Touch And Go.

"I started off playing a few scenes in my underwear because I was a bit self-conscious," he says. "But a day or two into it I thought, 'What the hell' and off came the trolleys. It was strangely empowering being in the nude."

Touch And Go concerns a professional couple's attempt to save their ailing marriage by trying wife-swapping. Sliding Doors star Zara Turner plays Martin's screen wife Alison. While the subject matter proved an eye-opener, it gave Martin a welcome change of direction.

"I can't be funny all the time and for this I've had to visit emotional places I'd never touched before. Mention wife-swapping and everyone has a good giggle, but the reality can be very dark for those involved," he says. "Most of the stuff I'm shown is sub-standard Men Behaving Badly, but this is really well-written. I thought, 'Just do it'."

The last decade has been hugely successful for Martin - his one regret is that his father, classical actor Alec Clunes, isn't around to share in his glory. Alec died of lung cancer when Martin was just eight.

"I miss him a lot," he says. "But I've got good memories of him. I look a lot like him apparently - although he wasn't blessed with my ears! Hopefully he would have been proud of what I've done in my life. I was definitely proud of him."

His future projects include appearing with Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare In Love, doing three Men Behaving Badly Christmas specials, and completing a TV drama, Hunting Venus, which he directs and stars in opposite Men Behaving Badly cohort Neil Morrissey - who plays a transsexual '80s new romantic!

"At least I'll be able to watch someone else getting their kit off for a change," Martin laughs.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Tusler, Phil
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 12, 1998
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