Doc Martin

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For the historic Taos, New Mexico, physician, see Thomas "Doc" Martin. For the footwear and clothing brand, see Dr. Martens. For the baseball player, see Doc Martin (baseball).
Doc Martin
Doc Martin logo.png
Created by Dominic Minghella
Theme music composer Colin Towns
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 46 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) Philippa Braithwaite
Running time 46 × 50mins
1× 92mins
Original channel ITV, STV, UTV
Picture format 576i (2004 - 2009)
1080i (2009 - 2013)
Original release 2 September 2004 – Present
External links

Doc Martin is a British television medical comedy drama series starring Martin Clunes in the title role. It was created by Dominic Minghella[1] after the character of Dr Martin Bamford in the 2000 comedy film Saving Grace.[2] The show is set in the fictional seaside village of Portwenn and filmed on location in the village of Port Isaac, Cornwall, England, 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. The sixth series began airing on ITV on 2 September 2013 and aired its last episode "Departure" on 21 October 2013. A seventh series has been commissioned and will air from 7 September 2015.[3]


Dr Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes), a brilliant and successful vascular surgeon at Imperial College London, develops haemophobia (a fear of blood), forcing him to stop practising surgery. He obtains a post as the sole general practitioner (GP) in the sleepy Cornish village of Portwenn, where he had spent childhood holidays with his Aunt Joan (Stephanie Cole), who owns a local farm. Upon arriving in Portwenn – where, to his frustration, the locals address him as "Doc Martin" – he finds the surgery (medical clinic) in disarray and inherits an incompetent receptionist, Elaine Denham (Lucy Punch). In Series 2–4, she is replaced by Pauline Lamb (Katherine Parkinson), a new receptionist, and later also a phlebotomist. In Series 5, Morwenna Newcross (Jessica Ransom) takes up the post.

The show revolves around Ellingham's interactions with the local Cornish villagers. Despite his medical brilliance, Ellingham is grouchy and bad-mannered, and lacks social skills. His direct, emotionless manner offends many of the villagers. They perceive him to be hot-tempered and lacking in a bedside manner, whereas he feels he is performing his duties in a professional and by-the-book manner, not wasting time chatting with the villagers. Ellingham is rather wooden and formal, and invariably dresses in a business suit and tie, regardless of the weather or the occasion, and he never takes off his jacket, even when delivering babies. He does not smoke and has no hesitation in pointing out the risks of unhealthy behaviors, both in private and in public gatherings.

The villagers eventually discover his fear of blood, and the frequent and debilitating bouts of nausea and vomiting it causes him. In spite of this handicap, Ellingham proves to be an expert diagnostician and responds effectively to various emergencies in his medical practice; thus, he gradually gains grudging respect from his neighbors. Ellingham's aunt, Joan Norton, provides emotional support in the face of the disquiet his stubborn manner causes among the villagers. When she eventually passes from the scene, she is succeeded by her sister Ruth, a retired psychiatrist.

Ellingham finds it difficult to express his developing romantic feelings towards primary school teacher Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz). He often spoils rare tender moments with, for example, a comment about an unpleasant medical condition or by requesting a stool sample.

Original character[edit]

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 as a successful obstetrician rather than surgeon, who finds out that his wife has been carrying on extramarital affairs behind his back. After confronting her with his discovery, he escapes London and heads for Port Isaac, a small seacoast town in 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 and fill the vacancy. In these three films the village is not known as Portwenn.

The Martin Bamford character is amiable and casual, seeming to enjoy his retreat from the career pressures and conflicts he left behind in London. He drinks and smokes freely, including a mild illegal drug, and has no problem getting his hands and clothes dirty by temporarily working as a lobster and crab fisherman aboard a local boat.

The original deal had been to produce two 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. The new network felt the doctor character should be portrayed as a "townie", out of his depth and uncomfortable in the country. They also wanted something edgier, so Clunes suggested that the doctor be very grumpy, socially inept, and rather stiff and formal. The new doctor's surname was changed to 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 actors to appear in both versions of Doc Martin are Tristan Sturrock and Tony Maudsley.


Six series totaling 46 episodes have aired on ITV in the UK between 2004 and 2013. Episodes are just under 50 minutes long, except for the 2006 TV film which is 92 minutes. In the US, American Public Television provided the 2006 TV film as a two-part episode, with the second episode airing the week after the first.

The first three series were broadcast from 2004-2007; subsequent series have initially aired only in odd-numbered years.

Clunes has confirmed that the seventh series will be shot in 2015, but because of the difficulty in creating new storylines, the series may be the show's last.[4]

Cast and characters[edit]


Character Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4 Series 5 Series 6
Dr Martin Ellingham Martin Clunes
Louisa Glasson Caroline Catz
Bert Large Ian McNeice
Al Large Joe Absolom
Sally Tishell Selina Cadell
Caroline Bosman Felicity Montagu Felicity Montagu
Margaret Ellingham Claire Bloom Claire Bloom
PC Joe Penhale John Marquez
Dr Ruth Ellingham Eileen Atkins
Morwenna Newcross Jessica Ransom
Jennifer Cardew Annabelle Apsion


Character Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4 Series 5 Series 6
Elaine Denham Lucy Punch
Adrian Pitts Rupert Young
PC Mark Mylow Stewart Wright
Peter Cronk Kurtis O'Brien
Joy Cronk Mary Woodvine
Mrs Richards Vicki Pepperdine
Col Gilbert Spencer Richard Johnson
Ross Finlay Robertson
Chris Parsons Vincent Franklin Vincent Franklin
Roger Fenn Jeff Rawle
Joan Norton Stephanie Cole
Julie Mitchell Angeline Ball
Danny Steel Tristan Sturrock
Pauline Lamb Katherine Parkinson
Mick Mabley Joseph Morgan
Dr Edith Montgomery Lia Williams
Eleanor Glasson Louise Jameson
Maggie Penhale Julie Graham
Michael Pruddy Felix Scott

Guest stars[edit]

Guest stars have included Amanda Abbington, Celia Imrie, John Alderton, Hugh Lloyd, Doreen Mantle, Margaret Tyzack, Christian Rodska, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Anne Reid, Miriam Margolyes, Stephanie Leonidas, Nick Brimble, Ben Miller, Chris O'Dowd, Robert Daws, Kenneth Cranham, David Bamber, Mathew Horne, Lucy Robinson, Gwen Taylor, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Anthony Calf, David Haig, Phyllida Law, Benjamin Whitrow, Louise Delamere, Nicholas Le Prevost, Sophie Thompson, Mathew Baynton, Andrew Lee Potts, John Duttine, Julia St. John and Tony Maudsley.


In the UK, Doc Martin has been a ratings success for ITV with the third series achieving ITV's best midweek drama performance in the 9pm Monday slot since December 2004.[5] The final episode of the third series was watched by 10.37 million viewers, which is the programme's highest-ever viewing figure for a single episode.[6]

In 2009, Doc Martin was moved to a 9pm Sunday time slot for the broadcast of Series 4. That change meant that it followed-on from ITV's The X Factor programme. Series 4 ratings were adversely impacted by STV not screening the majority of ITV drama productions in Scotland. The final episode of Series 4 had ratings of 10.29 million[7] viewers. STV went back on its decision not to screen ITV drama in Scotland. Series 4 of Doc Martin was broadcast on Sunday afternoons in August 2011.

Foreign adaptations[edit]

Notro Films produced a Spanish version under the title Doctor Mateo for Antena 3 Televisión. It aired in 2009 and was shot in Lastres, Asturias, called the fictional village of San Martín del Sella.

French television producers Ego Productions, in cooperation with TF1, have produced a French version of the series starring Thierry Lhermitte as Dr Martin Le Foll, with the series based in the fictional Breton town of Port-Garrec.[8][9]

In Germany, Doktor Martin an adaptation of the original series, airs on ZDF with Axel Milberg as Doktor Martin Helling[dead link], a surgeon from Berlin. The counterpart of Portwenn was the real village of Neuharlingersiel in East Frisia.

In Austria the equivalent to Doc Martin is Der Bergdoktor which translates to The Mountain Doctor. The doctor is called Dr Martin Gruber, played by Austrian actor Hans Sigl. It is set in the picturesque village of Ellmau in the Tirol region. Like Portwenn, this is a rural setting but in mountains rather than on the coast. The series began in 2008.

In Greece, Kliniki Periptosi an adaptation of the original series, was aired in November 2011 on Mega Channel with Yannis Bezos as Markos Staikos, a surgeon from New York.

In the Netherlands Dokter Tinus based on the original series began airing in late August 2012 on SBS6, with the main role being played by actor Thom Hoffman. The series was shot in Woudrichem.

A Russian version is mentioned in the Series 5 DVD bonus material.

In 2015, an American adaption of Doc Martin is to be created by Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman.

DVD releases[edit]

Series 1, 2 and 3 and "On the Edge" were released separately on Region 1 and 2 and in the "complete Series 1 to 3" box set. Series 3 was released on 2 February 2010 and Series 4 was released for region 1 and 2 on 6 July 2010. Series 5 was released in Region 1 on 5 June 2012 and region 2 on 5 March 2012. A complete boxset of Series 1-5 is also available for region 2. Series 6 of Doc Martin was released in Region 1 in December 2013 and in the UK (Region 2) on 24 March 2014.

In Region 4, Series 1, 2, 4, and "On the Edge" were released separately and in a nine-disc boxset entitled "Doc Martin: Comedy Cure", as well as an earlier seven-disc boxset not including Series 4. The two Sky Pictures telefilms were individually released in Region 4 (as 'Doc Martin: volume 1' and 'Doc Martin: volume 2, the Legend of the Cloutie') on the Magna Pacific label, but are now out-of-print. The show is available on Netflix.


In 2013, it was announced that two novels were to be released to coincide with the 6th series.[10]


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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Deans, Jason (11 November 2005). "ITV's Doc Martin kicks Spooks into touch". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  2. ^ "'Doc Martin' star Martin Clunes on the making of the British series". Los Angeles Times. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Jensen, Elizabeth (24 January 2014). "The British Series ‘Doc Martin’ Takes Off in U.S.". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Dowell, Ben (30 October 2007). "Doc Martin breaks 9m barrier". London: Media Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  6. ^ "Weekly viewing summary". BARB. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  7. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes". 20 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  8. ^ "Thierry Lhermitte est "Doc Martin"". TF1. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  9. ^ Episode 1.
  10. ^ "New 'Doc Martin' books". Retrieved 24 November 2013. 

External links[edit]