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.

Enid and Tubby (Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball)
Enid and Tubby (Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball)

“IT’S letting your dreams literally come true. Which is rather beautiful.

“Ordinary people being extraordinary.”

Imelda Staunton talking about the truly glorious That Day We Sang, written and directed by Victoria Wood.

A TV musical drama destined to become an instant classic.

Screened on BBC2 at 9pm on Boxing Day – Friday Dec 26.

It stars Imelda as “PA not secretary” Enid and Michael Ball as insurance salesman Tubby, two lonely middle-aged people who grab a second chance of life via the power of music.

These fictional characters meet in 1969 at a reunion of the Manchester Children’s Choir which made the iconic million selling recording of Nymphs and Shepherds with the Halle Orchestra 40 years before.

The film moving between events in the late 1960s and the story of a young Tubby, whose real name is Jimmy Baker, and his difficult home life in 1929.

With Harvey Chaisty as the young Jimmy and the always engaging Daniel Rigby as Mr Kirkby, the war veteran who helps him through.

Victoria Wood is also responsible for writing all of the music – Purcell’s Nymphs and Shepherds aside – in the 90-minute film.