Doc Martin

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Doc Martin
Created byDominic Minghella
Written byDominic Minghella, Jack Lothian, Richard Stoneman, Ben Bolt, Julian Unthank, Kirstie Falkous, Edana Minghella, Charlie Martin, Tom Butterworth, Chris Hurford, Andrew Rattenbury
Directed byBen Bolt
Theme music composerColin Towns
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series10
No. of episodes79 (list of episodes)
Executive producerMark Crowdy
ProducerPhilippa Braithwaite
Production locationsPort Isaac, Cornwall, England
Running time50–92 minutes
Production companies
  • Buffalo Pictures
  • Homerun Film Productions
  • Ingenious Broadcasting (series 4)
  • Auburn Entertainment (series 5)
  • Birimba Productions (series 6)
Original release
Release2 September 2004 (2004-09-02) –
25 December 2022 (2022-12-25)

Doc Martin is a British medical comedy-drama television series starring Martin Clunes as Doctor Martin Ellingham. It was created by Dominic Minghella[1] developing the character of Dr Martin Bamford from the Nigel Cole comedy film Saving Grace (2000).[2] The programme 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. Fern Cottage is used as the home and surgery of Doctor Ellingham.[3]

Nine series aired between 2004 and 2019, with a television film airing on Christmas Day in 2006. The ninth series aired on ITV premiered in September 2019. The tenth (and final) series aired from 7 September 2022 to 26 October 2022; one last installment, a Christmas special that aired on 25 December 2022, was the programme's final episode.[4] On 29 December 2022 a documentary entitled “Farewell Doc Martin” aired on ITV, featuring behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew as they filmed the final series. It also looked back at highlights from the 18 years of the show.[citation needed]


Doc Martin is filmed in the Cornish village of Port Isaac.

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 practicing 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) and Uncle Phil, who owns a local farm. Upon arriving in Portwenn – where, to his frustration, the locals address him as "Doc Martin" – he finds the surgery in chaos 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 programme revolves around Ellingham's interactions with the local Cornish villagers, and a psychologist's attempts to diagnose Doc Martin with Asperger syndrome or schizoid personality traits. Despite his medical excellence, Ellingham is grouchy, abrupt, and lacks social skills. His direct, emotionless manner offends many villagers, made worse by his invariably unpleasant responses to their ignorant, often foolish, comments. They perceive him to be hot-tempered and lacking in a bedside manner. In contrast, he feels he is performing his duties professionally and by-the-book, not wasting time chatting. Ellingham is very deadpan and dresses formally 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 has no hesitation in pointing out the risks of unhealthy behaviours (eg. smoking), 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. Despite 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 neighbours.

Ellingham does not get on with his parents but has a warm relationship with his aunt Joan, who provides emotional support. When she dies after a heart attack, her sister Ruth (Eileen Atkins), a retired psychiatrist, comes to Portwenn to take care of her affairs and eventually decides to use the village as a permanent retreat, offering Martin the support Joan had provided.

A major theme throughout the series is Ellingham's relationship with a primary school teacher (eventually school headmistress) Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz). Due to his difficulty in expressing feelings and his insensitive nature, the relationship has many ups and downs, though they eventually have a baby and later marry.

The Golden Lion doubled as Portwenn's local pub, The Crab & Lobster.

Other series regulars are father and son duo Bert and Al Large, who are always trying to run a small business of some type; pharmacist Sally Tishell who is infatuated with Martin; and Mark Mylow, a quirky police officer who is replaced in Series 3 by the bumbling and inept Joe Penhale.

Regular cast members have characterised Ellingham's personality thus:

Joe Absolom: "The Doctor is ... slightly autistic, probably, on the spectrum."[5]
Martin Clunes: "Lots of people say that he is Aspergic or something to some degree—which, yes, I think he is."[6] He has also said, "He's wired the way he's wired, but growing up being loathed by both your parents is going to leave a footprint. That's why he's so dysfunctional with relationships, 'cause there's gaps in his makeup. A sad little boy in there comes out a lot, and that's what a lot of that frowning is."[5]
Eileen Atkins: "He's unable to connect with people. He can't understand why people can't just take the truth, in a rather rough manner. If your parents have been very cold towards you and just factual, then that's very hard for you to grow up being—'loving' is too strong a word—an affectionate person."[7]

Cast and characters[edit]

Final main cast[edit]

  • Martin Clunes as Martin Ellingham – village GP "Doc" Martin has no bedside manner. He despises small talk and is straightforward with patients, delivering his diagnoses and advice without trying to protect their feelings, though he is genuinely concerned about their health. Clunes also plays Martin's father in a flashback to Martin's childhood in one episode.
  • Caroline Catz as Louisa Ellingham (née Glasson) – teacher at Portwenn Primary School, later becomes school headmistress.
  • Ian McNeice as Bert Large – plumber and local entrepreneurial businessman who tries and fails at numerous get rich quick schemes.
  • Joe Absolom as Al Large – Bert's son, who works in a variety of jobs during the series.
  • Selina Cadell as Sally Tishell – a pharmacist, who overtly displays unrequited romantic feelings for Ellingham.
  • John Marquez as Joe Penhale (series 3–10) – police officer Penhale greatly admires Ellingham, and believes they have a great working relationship, an optimistic assessment not shared by the doctor. Penhale has proudly referred to Ellingham and himself as "The Dynamic Duo". Ellingham focuses on Penhale's bumbling manner, but Penhale often shows surprising insight into the town's interpersonal dynamics.
  • Eileen Atkins as Ruth Ellingham (series 5–10) – retired forensic psychiatrist, who is also one of Martin's aunts.
  • Jessica Ransom as Morwenna Large (née Newcross) (Series 5–10) – surgery receptionist.

Previous main cast[edit]

  • Stephanie Cole as Joan Norton – Martin's aunt (series 1–4)
  • Stewart Wright as Mark Mylow – police constable, later promoted to sergeant (series 1–2, one episode in series 9)
  • Lucy Punch as Elaine Denham – the original surgery receptionist (series 1)
  • Katherine Parkinson as Pauline Lamb – surgery receptionist (series 2–4)

Other previous cast[edit]

Actor Character Duration
Ben Miller Stewart James (the local park ranger who has a giant squirrel friend named Anthony) series 1, episode 4 "The Portwenn Effect" and series 2, episode 7 "Out of the Woods", Series 10 (episode 3)[8]
Rupert Young Adrian Pitts (a young, arrogant doctor) series 1
Kurtis O'Brien Peter Cronk (schoolboy) series 1–2
Preston Nyman Peter Cronk series 7
Mary Woodvine Joy Cronk (Peter's mother) series 1–2, 7
Vicki Pepperdine Mrs Richards series 1–2
Celia Imrie Lady Susan Brading series 1, episode 1 "Going Bodmin"
Richard Johnson Col Gilbert Spencer series 1, episode 1 "Going Bodmin" and "On The Edge" TV film
Finlay Robertson Ross series 1–2
Vincent Franklin Chris Parsons series 1, 4–5, 8, 10
Jeff Rawle Roger Fenn (retired schoolteacher) series 1–3
Felicity Montagu Caroline Bosman series 1–2, 6–7
Angeline Ball Julie Mitchell (girlfriend/fiancée of PC Mark Mylow) series 2
Kenneth Cranham Terry Glasson (Louisa's father) "On The Edge" TV film and series 10, episode 5
Chris O'Dowd Jonathan Crozier TV film
Jonathan Aris Gavin Peters TV film
John Woodvine Christopher Ellingham (Martin's father) series 2
Claire Bloom Margaret Ellingham (Martin's mother) series 2, 6, 10
Tristan Sturrock Danny Steel (former boyfriend of Louisa) series 2, 7
Joseph Morgan Mick Mabley series 3
Lia Williams Edith Montgomery series 4
Malcolm Storry Clive Tishell (Sally's husband) series 4–5, 7–8
Angela Curran Caitlin Morgan (napkin lady and shop owner) series 4, 8–10
Louise Jameson Eleanor Glasson (Louisa's mother) series 5
Julie Graham Maggie Penhale (Joe's ex-wife) series 5
Buffy Davis Pippa Woodley (school teacher) series 5-9
Annabelle Apsion Jennifer Cardew (pharmacist) series 6
Felix Scott Michael Pruddy series 6
Rosie Ede Mel Hendy series 6, 8, & 9. (The actress also played the mother of a patient, Cameron Paris, in series 2 episode 2 "In loco".)
Caroline Quentin Angela Sim (vet and daughter of Martin's predecessor, the late Dr. Jim Sim) series 7-9
Robyn Addison Janice Bone series 7–10 (played for two episodes in series 6 by Katie Moore)
Emily Bevan Dr. Rachel Timoney (psychiatrist) series 7
Sigourney Weaver Beth Traywick (American tourist) series 7, 8
John Hollingworth Professor Sam Bradman series 8,[9] 9
Olivia Poulet Julia Pote series 9
Fay Ripley Abigail series 10[10]
Angus Imrie Max Foreman series 10, episode 2[11]
James Puddephatt Ron Pickford series 10, episode 3[12]

Original character[edit]

Martin Clunes originally played a character called Dr. Martin Bamford in the comedy film Saving Grace (2000)—written by Mark Crowdy and Craig Ferguson—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 a 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 coastal town in Cornwall that 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.[citation needed]

The Martin Bamford character is friendly and laid-back, seeming to enjoy his retreat from the career pressures and conflicts he left behind in London. He drinks and smokes carelessly, 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.[citation needed]

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's company tried to sell the franchise to ITV. The new network felt that the doctor character should be portrayed as a "townie", a fish out of water who is uncomfortable in the countryside. They also wanted something darker, so Clunes suggested that the doctor be curmudgeonly, socially inept, 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.[citation needed]

Apart from Clunes, the only actors to appear in both versions of Doc Martin are Tristan Sturrock and Tony Maudsley.[citation needed]


Ten series, totalling 79 episodes, aired on ITV in the UK between 2004 and 2022. Episodes are just under 50 minutes long, except for the 2006 TV film which is 92 minutes, and the 2022 Christmas special. In the US, American Public Television provided the 2006 TV film as a two-part episode, with the second episode airing a week after the first.

SeriesEpisodesOriginally airedAvg. viewers
First airedLast aired
162 September 2004 (2004-09-02)7 October 2004 (2004-10-07)9.32
2810 November 2005 (2005-11-10)5 January 2006 (2006-01-05)8.68
TV Film25 December 2006 (2006-12-25)5.88
3724 September 2007 (2007-09-24)5 November 2007 (2007-11-05)9.12
4820 September 2009 (2009-09-20)8 November 2009 (2009-11-08)9.15
5812 September 2011 (2011-09-12)31 October 2011 (2011-10-31)10.60
682 September 2013 (2013-09-02)21 October 2013 (2013-10-21)8.97
787 September 2015 (2015-09-07)2 November 2015 (2015-11-02)7.61
8820 September 2017 (2017-09-20)8 November 2017 (2017-11-08)7.41
9825 September 2019 (2019-09-25)13 November 2019 (2019-11-13)7.10
1097 September 2022 (2022-09-07)25 December 2022 (2022-12-25)5.42

In April 2020 director Nigel Cole confirmed plans for a tenth and final series,[13] which aired in Autumn 2022.[14][15]



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.[16] 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.[17]

In 2009, Doc Martin was moved to a 9pm Sunday time slot for the broadcast of Series 4. That change meant that it followed ITV's The X Factor programme. Series 4 ratings were adversely affected by STV not screening the majority of ITV drama productions in Scotland. The final episode of Series 4 had ratings of 10.29 million viewers.[18] STV went back on its decision not to screen ITV dramas in Scotland. Series 4 of Doc Martin was broadcast on Sunday afternoons in August 2011.[citation needed]


In 2004, Doc Martin won the British Comedy Award for "Best TV Comedy Drama", having also been nominated for "Best New TV Comedy". In the same year, Martin Clunes won the "Best TV Comedy Actor" award, primarily for his portrayal of Doc Martin.[citation needed]


Czech Republic and Slovakia[edit]

In 2014, Czech Television and RTVS began filming their own TV series starring Miroslav Donutil, which is heavily inspired by the original British series.[19] The series started to air on 30 August 2015 in Slovakia and from 4 September 2015 in Czechia. The Czech version is set in the Beskydy mountains, which is a picturesque area in the east of the Czech Republic on the border with Slovakia; like Portwenn, it is a long way from the capital, Prague, and dependent on the tourist industry.[20]


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 and filmed in Finistère.[21][22] The series was broadcast on TF1 from 10 January 2011 to 27 April 2015.[23]


In Germany, Doktor Martin, an adaptation of the original series, airs on ZDF with Axel Milberg as Doktor Martin Helling,[24] a surgeon from Berlin. The counterpart of Portwenn was the real North Sea coastal village of Neuharlingersiel in East Frisia.[citation needed]


In Greece, Kliniki Periptosi, an adaptation of the original series filmed in the Ionian Seaside town of Kardamyli,[25] was aired in November 2011 on Mega Channel with Yannis Bezos as Markos Staikos, a surgeon from New York.[25]


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.[26] The series was shot in Woudrichem on the Waal riverside.[27]


Notro Films produced a Spanish version under the title Doctor Mateo for Antena 3 Televisión. The lead role of Dr. Mateo Sancristobal was played by Gonzalo de Castro.[28] It aired in 2009 and was shot in Lastres, Asturias, called the fictional village of San Martín del Sella.[29][30][31]

Home media[edit]

Series 1, 2 and 3 and "On the Edge" were released separately in 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 in 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 box set of Series 1-5 is also available in 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.[citation needed]

Series 7 of Doc Martin was released on DVD/Blu-ray in Region 1 on 8 December 2015 and in the UK (Region 2) on 16 November 2015.[citation needed]

In Region 4, Series 1, 2, 4, and "On the Edge" were released separately and in a nine-disc box set entitled "Doc Martin: Comedy Cure", as well as an earlier seven-disc box set 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.[citation needed]

In Region 1, Series 1 was released in June 2007 by Image Entertainment of Chatsworth, CA as a 2-DVD set (Catalog No. ID3505PKDVD) simply titled Doc Martin.[32]

Region 4 (Australia) Releases:

Australian Region 4
DVD Title Release Date Re-Release
Complete Series One 29 March 2006[33] 2 October 2019[34]
Complete Series Two 26 July 2006[35]
On The Edge 10 October 2007[36]
Complete Series Three 14 May 2008[37]
Complete Series Four 11 August 2020[38] 7 March 2018[39]
Complete Series Five 21 March 2012[40] 7 November 2018[41]
Complete Series Six 23 April 2014[42]
Complete Series Seven 27 April 2016[43]
Complete Series Eight 6 December 2017[44]
Complete Series Nine 1 April 2020[45]
Box Sets
DVD Title Release Date Re-Release
Complete Series One and Two 8 November 2006
Doc Martin Collection (Series 1-3 + On The Edge) 5 November 2008[46]
Doc Martin Comedy Cure (Series 1-4 + On The Edge) 20 April 2011[47]
Series One-Five Collection 7 November 2012[48]
Series One-Six Collection 26 November 2014[49]
Series One-Seven Collection 3 May 2017[50]
Complete Series One To Eight Plus on the Edge 5 December 2018[51]
Complete Series One To Nine plus on the Edge 28 October 2020[52]

Airings beyond the UK[edit]

This series is popular around the world, both as itself and as a model for shows made in other nations.[53][54][55]

As of 2018, Doc Martin was aired in New Zealand on TVNZ 1, in Iceland on RUV, in Italy on the Hallmark Channel from September 2007 (seasons 1-3), Rai 3 from May 2010 and various reruns. The series was streaming on RaiPlay, in Australia on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) network and Foxtel pay-television subscription network via its UK-TV channel. The show airs and streams on various public broadcasting stations around the US and Canada; this was arranged through the distributor American Public Television.[56][57] As of 2021, it was streaming on Netflix, PlutoTV and Tubi.[58]


Two novels by Sam Hawksmoor, using the byline "Sam North", were published by Ebury in 2013. The first, Practice Makes Perfect, adapts the teleplays of series one; the second, Mistletoe and Whine, adapts the teleplays of series two. The author employs some timeline shifting, linked to character internalisation and point of view, so the narratives are not always as linear as in the teleplays.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

  • Becker, an American TV sitcom series featuring a misanthropic doctor in the Bronx borough of New York City
  • Northern Exposure, an American TV sitcom series about a big city internal medicine specialist being sent to an isolated Alaskan village to repay his medical school scholarship
  • Doc Hollywood, an American film about a young doctor driving to a job interview in Beverly Hills, who ends up taking over a rural practice in South Carolina after crashing his car there


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  19. ^ Plívová, Alžběta (8 April 2014). "Doktor z hor – Miroslav Donutil jako lékař v Beskydech, ČT začala natáčet seriálu Doktor Martin". (in Czech). Archived from the original on 25 October 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
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  25. ^ a b ""Κλινική περίπτωση" ο Γιάννης Μπέζος για το Mega !". 28 February 2011. Archived from the original on 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  26. ^ "Thom Hoffman nog niet klaar met Dokter Tinus". 24 August 2017. Archived from the original on 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Thom Hoffman: Dokter Tinus houdt met heel zijn hart van zijn vak, net als ik | Show |". Archived from the original on 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Los pacientes del Doctor Mateo". El País. 19 December 2009. Archived from the original on 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
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  55. ^ "Grouching Tiger: How grumpy Doc Martin became a TV phenomenon". The Independent. 25 December 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2024. Broadcast around the world, it has a major following in the United States (from where the Clunatics generally hail). And it has spawned local versions in Germany, France, Spain and Russia.
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External links[edit]