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Martin Clunes Slams Insurer That Sacked Him

(c) Sky News 2013

Television star Martin Clunes has called car insurance company Churchill "rude" for dropping him from its adverts after he was banned for driving.

Clunes featured in the lucrative television campaign alongside the company's trademark nodding dog for almost a year.

But Churchill Insurance axed him in November after he accrued 12 points on his licence for speeding offences and magistrates banned him from driving.

The star of Men Behaving Badly and Doc Martin said he did not expect to be dropped.

"I was very surprised by their reaction. It was neurotic and very heavy-handed," said Clunes.

"Quite rude, actually. They never said goodbye. They never said thanks. They washed their hands of me completely."

The ad featured Clunes and an animatronic version of the Churchill dog travelling together on a motorbike and sidecar through the English countryside.

Speaking to the Radio Times magazine, Clunes also described his life with his family in a 135-acre Dorset farm with horses, dogs, cats, sheep, chickens and cows.

"I imagine there'll come a time when television withdraws itself from me.

"I do love my job. But I'd really like the farm to wash its face. That's still a way off, because there's been a lot of investment in infrastructure," he said, adding it would take a while to get it back.

Clunes has made an ITV documentary called Heavy Horse Power to look at how the traditional uses for working horses have been changing. He said he would like to see the working horse make a comeback in British farming.

Clunes is not the first Churchill frontman to fall foul of driving laws.

In 2005, comedian Vic Reeves was dropped as the voice questioning the dog in the campaign after he was caught drink driving.

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