A much-loved teacher of Latin who devotes his life to Brookfield school and its generations of schoolboys
Martin Clunes was interested in the role of Mr. Chipping as soon as he heard about it. "It's not often that an actor gets a chance to play a whole life and that challenge attracted me instantly. Chips is a man that intrigued -- because he's so human. Clunes explained: "He's a fully rounded man with both good and bad traits. He's decent, hard-working, dedicated, honest, genuine and at times grumpy.
Chips' first day at school is not an auspicious one. Before he has even made it to the staff room, some boys have followed him round the school, aping his walk. Clunes smiled: "One of the ways I got 'into' Chips as a character was through his walk. I based it on my Gran's walk. I remember walking behind her on the way to church to arrange the flowers."
Clunes has appeared in many roles over the past two decades including, on television, Jeeves and Wooster, Inspector Morse and Gormenghast (as Professor Flower) and, on film, in Swing Kids, Shakespeare in Love and Saving Grace. He was acclaimed for his role in Molière's Tartuffe at the National Theatre but he is probably best known for his portrayal of Gary in Men Behaving Badly for which he was crowned Best Comedy Actor by BAFTA and the British Comedy Awards. Clunes lives in West Dorset with his wife, film producer Philippa Braithwaite, and their daughter Emily.