Martin Clunes admits he had terrifying close call with aggressive sharks

Martin Clunes discusses finishing Doc Martin on This Morning

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Martin Clunes stars in the three-part travelogue series as he embarks on an adventure across the ocean in the hopes of finding the real Pacific. The exhilarating trip was inspired by a book his father had given him as a child about the Kon-Tiki expedition.

She told me that there had been much bigger, more aggressive sharks coming towards us

Martin Clunes

And while the 60-year-old was thrilled to be turning his lifelong dream into a reality, filming the programme had proven to be quite the challenge.

In an interview with Radio Times at the beginning of January, Martin detailed how he had agreed to go swimming with a pack of small sharks out in French Polynesia.

Little did he know that the larger ones were trailing behind, causing the Wimbledon local to panic.

“I was swimming with these tiny, harmless, black-tipped reef sharks, and feeling quite brave,” he recalled.

“But then suddenly the guide said we had to get back into the boat.

He soon realised that the small sharks were the least of his problems after being informed of the larger sharks swimming in his direction.

Martin gushed how his attitude changed as soon as he heard what was coming towards him.

“Once there, she told me that there had been much bigger, more aggressive sharks coming towards us. I wasn’t so brave then.

“And later, back on land, there were the coconut crabs: they look like something from Alien, up to three feet wide with these massive claws that’ll cheerfully snip your finger off.

“They’re terrifying!”

Martin also recalled another terrifying moment when crew members asked him to stand on top of a rock, which was deemed the gateway to the afterlife.

“When tribal chiefs died, their bodies were pushed over the edge”, he said.

The idea was that Martin would stand on the rock and would stare down “hundreds of feet” to the sea below him.

But the thought of committing himself to the proposed plan was out of the question for the Saving Grace star, who joked that since his production company was tied to the show, there was nobody that could force him to do it.

Martin revealed he had spoken to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, about his new ITV show before the latter’s passing last April.

In one particular segment, Martin, who began filming the series back in 2019, paid a visit to the Yakel people, who considered Prince Philip a god-like figure.

“I reached out to the Duke when I got back, and sent him a photo of me with the whole tribe under a huge tree, and I said his influence was obviously a force for good as they were absolutely charming.”

 After speaking with Prince Philip about his time with the Yakel people, the duke sent a message back saying he was glad to hear Martin had enjoyed his time with the clan.

Islands of the Pacific will air every Thursday starting tonight at 9pm on ITV.

Martin’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

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