English actor films in Kodiak

At Mill Bay Beach (left to right), camera operator Richard Ranken, director Ian Leese, and actor Martin Clunes. (Photo by Kayla Desroches / KMXT)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

An English actor spent the past week in Kodiak filming a documentary TV series about islands in America.


Fans of British television  may be familiar with a program about a socially awkward surgeon whose blood phobia disrupts a successful career in London forcing him to move back to the  fishing  village  in the North of Cornwall, where he spent his childhood holidays. There, he starts again as a general practitioner, and the dramedy ensues.

That show is “Doc Martin,” and it stars Martin Clunes.

Clunes found himself in another fishing hub just recently. Kodiak. This time as a presenter for a four-part series called Islands of America.

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect because I’ve never been anywhere like Alaska before.”

He and the film crew spent part of their last overcast day on Kodiak Island filming at Mill Bay Beach. Using a shiny white drone.

Sound guy – and drone guy – Owen Hughes earned his FAA license just for this purpose. Using an iphone to direct the drone, he flies it to a rocky outcrop down the beach which Clune has scaled and now stands on.

The director speaks to Clunes via walkie-talkie.

“We’ll try a jib up, so once you see that you’re in view, deliver the line.”

This scene will end up in the pre-title sequence and involves only one line.

“So, if you want to see a different USA, come with me and discover the islands of America.”

He delivers the line a few times and then makes his way back the crew.

“The climb was alright. I just took a silly route. There was an easier one down. But, I just got scared up there because I’m a baby.”

Besides climbing some of Kodiak’s more jagged areas, Clunes has also visited a seafood processor, fished for halibut, and gone bear watching.

“I’m a big kinda bunny hugger. I just love seeing animals I’ve never seen before, and I get a real thrill out of it. And the sea otters even excite me because England’s lost most of its otters, and they’re tiny, and their population’s just creeping back up, and so to see an otter for a Brit is a very exciting thing.”

He also camped in Viekoda Bay, something he says he especially enjoyed.

“Just the absolute peace and seclusion, and the weather was kind to us too. It was very special. [A] very sort of spiritual place to be. I’d like to come back here with my family, and I don’t say that about every island.”

Clunes and the film crew headed down the harbor afterwards to shoot some of their final scenes.

Clune the owner of the production company, Buffalo Pictures, and has already done a series about the islands of Britain and Australia. They were in Hawaii for a week before flying into Kodiak, and the show will air on ITV in the United Kingdom and on PBS next year.

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