On Sunday night at 9:00 P.M., KCET presents a special sea-based documentary by the irrepressible actor and nature lover Martin Clunes.
The star of "Doc Martin" and his wife, Philippa Braithwaite, jointly produced, "Martin Clunes: Man to Manta." The hour-long special follows the British actor to several continents as he looks at the precarious state of the manta ray population, as well as at sea turtles and other fish who are in danger due to local fishermen. The journey first heads to South America where Clunes gets 'kissed' by a stingray and on to the Maldives were manta ray gather in the hundreds between July and October to feed. If you're a "Doc Martin" fan, you know that Doctor Martin Ellingham has a phobia of blood. And, not unlike the character he plays, Clunes has a different phobia: He is enormously uneasy going underwater even though, he admits, he's a good diver. Here's a preview clip.
Clunes meets the nature advocates who are determined to help save the fish and turtle population in regions where their slaughter by local fisherman is part of everyday life. Clunes is sympathetic to the realities of the fishermen, whose survival depends on their catch. In one lump-in-your-throat scene, Clunes watches the slaughter of dozens of huge manta rays. The reason for the harvest of the fish will surprise you.
A final note for KCET's Doc Martin fans. It's all good news. The beloved Martin Clunes series heads into production next springs and look for Season 6 in late 2013.