Arthur (Martin Clunes) and George (Arsher Ali).
Arthur (Martin Clunes) and George (Arsher Ali).

“SUCCESS is a terrible mistress.”

Martin Clunes is about to star on screen as Sherlock novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

With Arthur & George starting on ITV at 9pm on Monday (March 2).

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Julian Barnes.

Before starting work at the end of March on a seventh series of Doc Martin.

Both TV dramas produced by his wife Philippa Braithwaite.

You might think life is simple for a successful actor like Martin.

Aside from having to answer yet another tedious question about whether Men Behaving Badly will ever return.

I’ve heard him being asked that dozens of times over the years and the answer remains, of course, no.

But despite always putting on an entertaining show during interviews, usually with a bit of edge, he can be – like most actors – a sensitive soul.

So it was no surprise to learn at the ITV launch for the new three-part drama that Martin has previously “bailed out” of other productions.

Even after signing the contract to appear in them.

downtonxmas12a

“LIFE is strange, isn’t it?”

Downton Abbey series three, episode nine.

Otherwise known as the 2012 Christmas Special, just broadcast by ITV1 tonight – December 25 – in the UK.

If you have yet to watch it, do NOT read any further.

Come back later once you have viewed.

That obviously also goes for our American cousins waiting for series three to begin on PBS on Jan 6.

As well as other Downton fans across the globe who are not yet up to the UK series pace.

There are major spoilers below.

So unless you want to read them, stop now.