Doc Martin is a British television comedy drama series starring Martin Clunes in the title role. (Clune’s started in Men Behaving Badly and you also saw him in “Shakespeare in Love”)
It was created by Dominic Minghella after the character of Dr. Martin Bamford in the 2000 comedy film Saving Grace.
The show is set in the fictional seaside village of Portwenn and filmed on location in the village of Port Isaac, Cornwall, United Kingdom, with most interior scenes shot in a converted local barn.
Five series aired between 2004 and 2011, together with a feature-length special that aired on Christmas Day 2006.
Clunes plays Dr. Martin Ellingham, a brilliant and successful vascular surgeon at Imperial College London who develops haemophobia (a fear of blood), and as a result is forced to stop practicing surgery.
He obtains a post as the General Practitioner (GP) in the sleepy Cornish village of Portwenn, where he spent childhood holidays with his Aunt Joan (played by Stephanie Cole-).
Upon arriving in Portwenn, Dr. Ellingham – who, to his frustration, is addressed as “Doc Martin” by the locals – finds the surgery in disarray. He inherits an incompetent receptionist, Elaine Denham (played by Lucy Punch).
Despite his medical brilliance, Ellingham is a gruff man, lacking social skills. His cold, abrasive manner offends many of the villagers.
He is perceived by them to be short tempered and lacking in a bedside manner, whereas he feels he is going about his duties in a professional and no-nonsense manner, not wasting time chatting with the villagers.
His haemophobia, which results in frequent and debilitating bouts of nausea and vomiting, eventually becomes known amongst the villagers.
His aunt, Joan Norton (starred in “Waiting For God” ), provides emotional support in the face of the disquiet his abrupt manner causes among the villagers. Caroline Catz plays primary school teacher Louisa Glasson, for whom Doc Martin finds it difficult to express his romantic feelings.
Original character Martin Clunes originally played a character called “Dr Martin Bamford” in the 2000 film Saving Grace and its two made-for-TV prequels, Doc Martin and Doc Martin and the Legend of the Cloutie, which were made by British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB).
The prequels show Bamford, a successful obstetrician rather than surgeon, finding out that his wife has been carrying on extramarital affairs behind his back. After confronting her with the news, he escapes London and heads for Cornwall, which he remembers fondly from his youth. Shortly after he arrives, he is involved in the mystery of the “Jellymaker” and, following the departure of the village’s resident GP, decides to stay in Port Isaac and fill the gap. In these three films the village is not known as Portwenn.
The original deal was to produce two such television films per year for three years, but Sky Pictures folded after the first two episodes were made, so Clunes’ company tried to sell the franchise to ITV. ITV felt the Martin Bamford character should be portrayed as a “townie”, out of his depth and uncomfortable in the country.
They also wanted something edgier, so Clunes suggested the doctor be very grumpy and socially inept. The new doctor’s surname was to be Ellingham, an anagram of the last name of the new writer, Dominic Minghella, who was brought in to rework the doctor’s background and create a new cast of supporting characters.
Along with Clunes the only actor to appear in both versions of Doc Martin is Tristan Sturrock.
In 2004 Doc Martin won the British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Drama, having also been nominated as Best New TV Comedy. In the same year, Martin Clunes won the Best TV Comedy Actor award, primarily for his portrayal of Doc Martin.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Cornwall and the picture postcard village of Portwenn, Martin reprises his role of the curmudgeonly Doctor Martin Ellingham whose truculent and tactless manner upsets just about everyone.
When we last saw him he had packed his bags ready to take on a consultant’s position in London. That was until estranged girlfriend Luisa gave birth to their son – who still doesn’t have a name…
Can the Doc cope with being a new dad while trying to resume his high-flying career as a surgeon?
Martin introduces the second series in the video above and shares his funniest moments as the Doc below. Plus take a closer look at the stunning location of Port Isaac as we go behind the scenes