In Doc Martin, Martin Clunes plays the town of Portwenn’s local GP, Martin Ellingham, who was once a brilliant and highly successful London surgeon until he developed a phobia of blood that prevented him conducting operations. After retraining as a GP, he applied for a post in the sleepy Cornish village of Portwenn, where he had spent childhood holidays.
Much of the show’s humour revolves around Ellingham’s clumsy interactions with the local villagers. Despite his surgical brilliance, Ellingham lacks vital personal skills and any semblance of a bedside manner and is often clueless as to the feelings of others. Much to his disgust, Dr Ellingham (referred arrives in town to find a surgery is in disarray, the medical equipment atniquated and the patients’ records a mess. He also inherits an incompetent receptionist, Elaine Denham, who would rather spend her day at work playing gambling games on the office computer.
Martin is joined by a cast which includes the perennially favorite actress Stephanie Cole as his aunt, Joan Norton, who provides him with emotional support in the face of the disquiet among the villagers. Caroline Catz plays opinionated primary school teacher (later headmistress) Louisa Glasson. Doc Martin is attracted to her, but finds himself unable to express this. Louisa appears to share this mutual attraction, but finds their personalities often too different, while she is caring and nurturing, Martin is emotionally detached and at times neurotic.
While much of the above might not sound like the ideal premise for a comedic television show, I assure you that it works splendidly – viewing numbers peaked at 9 million for the last series. Doc Martin is addictive. And ITV announced that Martin Clunes has reprised his role as the curmudgeonly GP in a new eight-part drama series that was filmed in Cornwall by Buffalo Pictures last Spring. So, prepare for these new episodes by watching the old – available via Netflix, Blockbuster and some local libraries. Or, you can watch previous episodes here.