The fifth season of the popular series, Doc Martin, is currently on ITV Choice (DStv channel 123) at 8 pm on Wednesdays. THELUVVIE chatted to its star Martin Clunes.
Are you aware how popular the show is all over the world?
Yes, and it’s very gratifying. We’ve had fans from Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa coming to Port Isaac in Cornwall, where the series is filmed, as a result of the show. People have really taken the show to their hearts.
So what do you think is the secret of the show’s success?
It’s funny, well observed and beautifully played – and all against a glorious Cornish backdrop. But most of all I think it’s the quality of the scripts. I don’t think we’ve ever shot from the first draft. The scripts are revised and changed, sometime even while we’re shooting. Plus we make a series every other year and perhaps that helps, because we have a year to plan.
How have the people of Port Isaac adapted to having you in their town for so many years?
We’ve got a good relationship with Port Isaac I think, plus we’ve kept the Co-op alive. The Port Isaac Co-op was going to shut because it was such seasonal income, but now they get visitors year round so I think we’ve got a good relationship with that community.
Last year it was reported that you had lost a considerable amount of weight, through illness. How are you feeling these days?
Much better thanks. The illness was a while ago and is all sorted now, but I did lose quite a bit of weight. But it wasn’t the only reason for my slimmer form. I also discovered a new fitness regimen …. if you want to get fit, buy a farm. On a hill! I acquired some land in Dorset, where the flatland was saturated, so we had to feed the animals by hand, which is hard work. So yes, if you want to get in shape, buy a farm, diet a bit, get ill – that’s the magic formula…
ABOUT DOC MARTIN
Doc Martin is a British television medical comedy drama series starring Martin Clunes. It was created by Dominic Minghella after the character of Dr Martin Bamford in the 2000 comedy film Saving Grace.
Set in the fictional seaside village of Portwenn and filmed on location in the village of Port Isaac, Cornwall, England, the show centres on Dr Martin Ellingham (Clunes), a brilliant and successful vascular surgeon at Imperial College London, who develops haemophobia (a fear of blood), forcing him to stop practising surgery.
He obtains a post as the sole general practitioner in Portwenn, where he had spent childhood holidays with his Aunt Joan (Stephanie Cole), who owns a local farm.
To his frustration the locals address him as “Doc Martin” and he finds the surgery in chaos and that he has an incompetent receptionist, Elaine Denham (Lucy Punch). In series 2 to 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.
Despite his medical excellence, Ellingham is grouchy, pugnacious, and lacks social skills. His direct, emotionless manner offends many of the villagers, who perceive him to be hot-tempered and lacking in a bedside manner.
He, meanwhile, feels he is performing his duties in a professional and by-the-book manner, not wasting time chatting.
The villagers eventually discover his fear of blood, and the frequent and debilitating bouts of nausea and vomiting it causes. 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 neighbours.