2:09am Tuesday 29th January 2013
© Press Association 2013
Martin Clunes has branded car insurance company Churchill "rude" for dropping him from its TV adverts after he was disqualified from driving.
The Doc Martin star featured in the lucrative campaign alongside the company's trademark nodding dog for almost a year.
But Churchill Insurance axed Martin in November after he accrued 12 points on his licence for speeding offences and magistrates banned him from driving.
The actor, 51, who featured with an animatronic version of the Churchill dog travelling together on a motorbike and sidecar through the English countryside, told the Radio Times that he had not expected to be dropped. "I was very surprised by their reaction. It was neurotic and very heavy-handed," he said.
"Quite rude, actually. They never said goodbye. They never said thanks. They washed their hands of me completely."
Martin lives with his family on a 135-acre Dorset farm with horses, dogs, cats, sheep, chickens and cows. He told the magazine: "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.
"It wasn't really farmed before and it is now, so that's been an outlay, which will take a while to get back."
The actor said that he would like to see the working horse - the subject of his new ITV documentary - make a comeback in British farming. "I'm not in a position to tell anybody how to farm, but there are too many reasons for a farmer not to get out of a tractor. It's their business, I suppose, but people do manage without them," he said.
"It's slower, but without tractors, farmers wouldn't have the expense of diesel."
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