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Doc Martin
Doc Martin logo.png
Series title card
Format Comedy Drama
Created by Dominic Minghella
Starring Martin Clunes
Ian McNeice
Caroline Catz
Stephanie Cole
Joe Absolom
Katherine Parkinson
Selina Cadell
John Marquez
and Lia Williams
Theme music composer Colin Towns
Country of origin  United Kingdom
No. of episodes 30 (List of episodes)
Producer(s) Philippa Braithwaite
Running time 29x 50mins
1x 92mins
Original channel ITV
Original run 2 September 2004 – present
External links
Official website

Doc Martin is a British television comedy drama starring Martin Clunes. It was created by Dominic Minghella, and is filmed on location in and around the fishing village of Port Isaac, Cornwall, United Kingdom, with filming of most interior scenes and production carried out in a converted barn at a local farm. There have been four completed series of the show, and a feature-length special that first aired on Christmas Day, 2006.



Clunes plays (fictional) 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 interactions with the local Cornish villagers. Despite his surgical brilliance, Ellingham lacks vital personal skills and any semblance of a bedside manner, and often fails to understand other people. Dr Ellingham (referred to as "Doc Martin" by the friendly locals), much to his disgust, finds the surgery is in disarray, the medical equipment is beyond repair, and the patients’ records are a mess. He also inherits an incompetent receptionist, Elaine Denham, who resents Doc Martin's moving in. The community is united in horror at their "misery guts" of a new GP.

Martin is joined by a cast which includes 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 (particularly occupationally), Martin is emotionally detached and at times neurotic.


Clunes' character was originated as Dr Martin Bamford in the 2000 film Saving Grace. He then appears in two "prequel" television films made by BSkyB, Doc Martin and Doc Martin and the Legend of the Cloutie, in which viewers learn that Bamford, a successful obstetrician, finds that his wife has been carrying on extramarital affairs behind his back with his three best friends. After confronting her with the news, he decides to leave London and heads for Cornwall, which he remembers fondly from his youth. Shortly after he arrives, he gets 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 himself.

Although the original deal was to produce two television films per year for three years, Sky Pictures folded after the first two were made, so Clunes' company tried selling the franchise to ITV who generally liked it, but felt the character of Martin Bamford needed a little something more to him than just being a "townie" who is a little out of his depth in the country. ITV wanted something a little more edgy, so Clunes came up with the idea of the doctor being unusually grumpy. In the process, the doctor's last name was changed from Bamford to Ellingham, an anagram of the last name of new writer Dominic Minghella who was brought in to re-work the Doc's backstory and create a new village of supporting characters.

Quite often during the series there are references to people being "a bit Bodmin". This is a reference to the fact that Bodmin was once the centre of mental health care for the South West, and was based at the former St Lawrence's Hospital site and now at Bodmin Hospital.

Although Clunes' character is the only one to carry over (with significant back-story changes) from the telefilms, Tristan Sturrock joins Clunes as the only other actor (thus far) to appear in both versions of Doc Martin.

Series Four

When interviewed on both television and radio in order to promote the release of the Series 3 DVD, Martin Clunes stated several times that he was taking a break from acting in 2008. This was due to the fact that his daughter, Emily, had not had a proper summer holiday with her parents since they started filming Doc Martin (Clunes's wife is Philippa Braithwaite, the producer of the programme). Consequently, production of Series 4 did not occur until 2009. During the UK Channel 4 Richard and Judy television program on 28 February 2008, Martin Clunes responded to the interviewers statement that the end of Series 3 was "..sad.." by saying that it's not over yet and that we should " this space...".[1] In addition, during a radio interview in March 2008, Martin Clunes indicated that, following the events at the end of Series Three, they would 'try and patch up' the relationship between Martin and Louisa.[2]

In February 2009, ITV confirmed the commissioning of a fourth series of Doc Martin, which would have eight episodes.[3] On 17 April 2009 during an interview on the BBC One television program Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (Series 16, Episode 11), Martin Clunes stated that he "...started filming the following Monday down in Cornwall..." (ie the week beginning 20 April 2009), and that filming would take about 4 months.[4] In an interview on GMTV from Port Gaverne, he stated that the filming was going well and that the series would be released in Autumn (UK).

Series four aired on ITV1 from Sunday, 20 September 2009 (source: listings) to Sunday, 8 November 2009 and was a ratings success for ITV. However STV did not broadcast Series 4 in Scotland due to financial issues.[5]

Series 4 was released to DVD on 1 March 2010 in the UK.[6]

In the USA, American Public Television (i.e. the US syndicator who supplies the programme to public TV station in America) confirmed that Series 4 will be available to American public TV stations from 1 March 2010[7]

In New Zealand, Series 4 began broadcasting on 25 January 2010 on TVNZ[8]

While moderators on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) forums have confirmed[9] that the ABC has the broadcast rights to Series 4, no official announcement has been made regarding when broadcast will occur.

Series Five

No official announcement has been made regarding the commissioning or production of a fifth series of Doc Martin. In an interview published in the Manchester Evening News on
15 September 2009[10], Martin Clunes is quoted as saying that "It looks like ITV will give the go-ahead to a fifth series but that won’t be filmed until 2011."

On 2 March 2010 during an interview on the BBC's The One Show, Martin Clunes confirmed that Series 5 will be filmed in 2011[11]


In the UK, Doc Martin has been a ratings success for ITV1 with the third series achieving ITV1's best midweek drama performance in the 9pm Monday slot since December 2004.[12] 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.[13]

In 2009, Doc Martin was moved to a new 9pm Sunday time slot for the broadcast of Series 4. That change meant that it followed-on from ITV1's successful The X Factor (UK) programme, which might have had some flow-through effect on the ratings for Doc Martin. However, there is also no doubt that the ratings for Series 4 were adversely impacted by the recent decision of STV not to screen the majority of ITV drama productions in Scotland. Whatever the actual influence of those factors, the final episode of Series 4 achieved official ratings of 10.29 million[14] viewers.


A total of twenty-nine episodes across four series and one Christmas special have aired on ITV1 in the UK in the period 2004 to 2009. All episodes are 50-minutes except the 2006 Christmas special which is 92 minutes.

Cast and characters

Actor Character Duration
Martin Clunes Doctor Martin Ellingham 2004—
Caroline Catz Louisa Glasson 2004—
Stephanie Cole "Auntie" Joan Norton 2004—
Ian McNeice Bert Large 2004—
Joe Absolom Al Large 2004—
Selina Cadell Mrs. Tishell 2004—
Katherine Parkinson Pauline Lamb 2005—
John Marquez PC Joe Penhale 2007—
Lia Williams Dr Edith Montgomery 2009—

Past characters

Actor Character Duration
Joseph Morgan Mick Mabley 2007
Stewart Wright PC Mark Mylow 2004-2006
Angeline Ball Julie Mitchell 2005-2006
Tristan Sturrock Danny Steel 2005-2006
Felicity Montagu Caroline Bosman 2004-2005
Lucy Punch Elaine Denham 2004

Guest stars

The programme has featured a number of guest stars, including Celia Imrie, John Alderton, Hugh Lloyd, Jeff Rawle, Doreen Mantle, Christian Rodska, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Mary Woodvine, John Woodvine, Stephanie Leonidas, Ben Miller, Chris O'Dowd, Kenneth Cranham, David Bamber, Claire Bloom, Gwen Taylor, Sylvestra la Touzel, Richard Johnson, David Haig, Phyllida Law, Benjamin Whitrow and Sophie Thompson.

International broadcasters

  • In Australia, Doc Martin aired on ABC1. It was also shown on Australian PayTV channel, UKTV.
  • In New Zealand, Doc Martin aired on TV One. It was also shown on New Zealand PayTV channel, UKTV
  • In Canada, Doc Martin airs on VisionTV and Knowledge Network in British Columbia.
  • In Germany, Doc Martin airs as Doktor Martin on ZDF. It is an adaptation of the original series with Axel Milberg as Doktor Martin Helling, a surgeon from Berlin.
  • In Italy, Hungary, Russia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and other countries where available, Doc Martin airs on the Hallmark Channel.
  • In Belgium, Doc Martin airs on the public channel één.
  • In Finland, Doc Martin airs on the public commercial channel MTV3.
  • In Norway, Doc Martin airs on the public channel NRK1.
  • In Denmark, Doc Martin airs on the public commercial channel TV2 Charlie.
  • In Romania, all Doc Martin series aired on the Hallmark channel.
  • In USA, Doc Martin was airing in the summer of 2008 on WUSF-TV Tampa; in fall of 2008 on Wisconsin Public Television; and currently on WXXI in Rochester, New York; WNED in Buffalo, New York; KCTS in Seattle, Washington; and Rhode Island PBS; and in the fall of 2009 on KTEH in San Jose, California (reruns of seasons 1, 2, 3 commencing Sept. 28, 2009). KTEH is also planning to air Series 4 when it becomes available through USA distribution to Public Broadcasting stations.
  • In Africa, Doc Martin airs on the Hallmark Channel on DSTV.
  • In Bulgaria, all Doc Martin series aired on the Hallmark channel.
  • In Slovenia, Doc Martin series 3 aired on the SLO2 (Slovenia 2) channel.
  • In Spain, the adaptation Doctor Mateo airs on Antena 3 TV channel.
  • In Sweden, Doc Martin airs on the subscription Kanal 9 during late 2008 and into 2009.
  • In Czech Republic, Doc Martin (Doktor Martin) airs on the CT1 since 1.10.2009.
  • In Poland, Doc Martin (Doktor Martin) airs on the public channel TVP2 since 4.11.2009.
  • Website Hulu has been broadcasting the six episodes of Season 1 since May 2009. Seasons 2 and 3 are also available.
  • In Venezuela, 'Doc Martin airs on People & Arts.
  • In Argentina, 'Doc Martin airs on Film & Arts channel.
  • In Colombia, Doc Martin airs on Film & Arts channel.
  • In Chile, Doc Martin airs on Film & Arts channel.
  • In Serbia, Doc Martin (Doktor Martin) airs on TV Avala channel.

DVD releases

Series 1, 2 and 3 and "On the Edge" have been released separately on region 2 and in the "complete Series 1 to 3" box set. Series 4 is scheduled for release 1 March, 2010.

In region 4, Series 1, 2, 3 and "On the Edge" were all released separately and in a seven-disc boxset. The two Sky Pictures telefilms were also 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 have since gone out-of-print.

Series 1 and Series 2 (including "On the Edge" as a bonus feature) have been released in Region 1. Series 3 was released on 2 February 2010 and Series 4 is scheduled for release on 6 July 2010. [15]


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.

Doc Martin, in the form of "Doc Martin's path to love", has been nominated as one of ITV's Clips of the Year for 2007 at (external link). The winner is determined by public vote.


External links

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