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Martin Clunes' dog Jim steals the show in Arthur & George (VIDEO)

Martin Clunes has hailed the performance of his Jack Russell terrier Jim in Arthur & George as 'genius'.

Jim beat an audition list of... Well, just himself... But Martin says his dog proved a natural in the role of companion to his character, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Martin told What's on TV: "He was really good. If you watched all the takes you'd see that every time the ball was bowled he caught it and gave it back to the bowler, there was genius at play."

He explained why Jim became a member of the cast in the period drama, which is based on a real life miscarriage of justice Conan Doyle became involved with in 1907.

"There was a YouTube clip of Conan Doyle much later in life, but he has a fox terrier with him, so we just thought it would add a level of homeliness to the house to have a dog. I didn't force him on any one! But Stuart [Orme, director] said, someone told him Martin's got a good [dog]."

Arthur & George premieres on ITV on Monday, March 2 at pm. Watch the interview with Martin Clunes, above.