The Churchill adverts have seen a host of personalities appear over the years alongside the ‘Churchill nodding bulldog’ which was first voiced by Bob Mortimer.
The original commercials saw Mortimer, as the speaking toy dog, respond to questions by comedy partner Vic Reeves, however like Clunes, Reeves was removed from the promos after he was convicted of drink driving.
Subsequent stars to feature with the dog include Rolf Harris, Roy Walker, Melanie Sykes and Ricky Hatton. For almost a year Clunes had been the regular sidekick to the famous dog, but was dropped in November 2012 after he reached 12 points on his licence for speeding offences bringing about the driving ban.
Clunes told the Radio Times, “I was very surprised by their reaction.” Clearly unaware of the same fate which befell Reeves almost a decade ago.
“It was neurotic and very heavy-handed.” He adds, continuing, “Quite rude, actually. They never said goodbye. They never said thanks. They washed their hands of me completely.”
The insurance company first used the bulldog as its symbol in 1994, with the Churchill nodding dog appearing in adverts from 1996 onwards.
[Reported by Neil Lang]