Doc Martin

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
Created by Dominic Minghella
Theme music composer Colin Towns
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 7
No. of episodes 54 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) Philippa Braithwaite
Running time 53 × 50mins
1× 92mins
Original network ITV, STV, UTV
Picture format 576i (2004 – 2009)
1080i (2009 – 2015)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 2 September 2004 – Present

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.

Seven series aired between 2004 and 2015, together with a feature-length special that aired on Christmas Day 2006. The seventh series began airing on ITV on 7 September 2015 and aired its last episode "The Doctor Is Out" on 2 November 2015.[3] An eighth and final series has been announced, to air in 2017, and an American TV remake of the series is also being planned.[4]


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 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 show revolves around Ellingham's interactions with the local Cornish villagers. Despite his medical excellence, Ellingham is grouchy, pugnacious, and lacks social skills. His direct, emotionless manner offends many of the villagers, made worse by his invariably unpleasant responses to their comments. 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. Ellingham is very deadpan and formally 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 behaviours, 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. 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. Ellingham's aunt, Joan Norton, provides emotional support in the face of the controversy his impatient manner causes among the villagers. When she passes away 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.

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. Martin eventually proposes to Louisa, but on the day of their wedding they suddenly break their engagement. Louisa leaves for a job in London; returning after six months, visibly pregnant with Martin's child. When the child is born, the couple renew their relationship. Following much indecision, Martin resolves to remain in Portwenn and marries Louisa, but continued arguments relating to his insensitive nature lead to their becoming estranged again. In Series 7, Louisa lives in Martin's surgery with their baby James Henry, while Martin boards in the village and sees a therapist for his inability to form and maintain relationships.

Original character

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 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 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 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.

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 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.

Along with Clunes, the only actors to appear in both versions of Doc Martin are Tristan Sturrock and Tony Maudsley.


Seven series totaling 54 episodes have aired on ITV in the UK between 2004 and 2015. 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.

Cast and characters


Series 1
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4
Series 5
Series 6
Series 7
Dr Martin Ellingham Martin Clunes
Louisa Ellingham (née Glasson) Caroline Catz
Bert Large Ian McNeice
Al Large Joe Absolom
Sally Tishell Selina Cadell
PC Joe Penhale John Marquez
Clive Tishell Malcolm Storry Malcolm Storry
Dr Ruth Ellingham Eileen Atkins
Morwenna Newcross Jessica Ransom
Janice Katie Moore Robyn Addison


Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4 Series 5 Series 6 Series 7
Elaine Denham Lucy Punch
Adrian Pitts Rupert Young
PC Mark Mylow Stewart Wright
Peter Cronk Kurtis O'Brien Preston Nyman
Joy Cronk Mary Woodvine 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
Caroline Bosman Felicity Montagu Felicity Montagu
Julie Mitchell Angeline Ball
Margaret Ellingham Claire Bloom Claire Bloom
Danny Steel Tristan Sturrock Tristan Sturrock
Pauline Lamb Katherine Parkinson
Mick Mabley Joseph Morgan
Dr Edith Montgomery Lia Williams
Eleanor Glasson Louise Jameson
Maggie Penhale Julie Graham
Jennifer Cardew Annabelle Apsion
Michael Pruddy Felix Scott
Dr Rachel Timoney Emily Bevan


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

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, a surgeon from Berlin. The counterpart of Portwenn was the real village of Neuharlingersiel in East Frisia.

In Austria the equivalent of 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 mountain village of Ellmau in the Tirol region. 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 2014, Czech Television began filming their own TV series starring Miroslav Donutil, which is heavily inspired by the original British series.[10] The series started to air from 4 September 2015. The Czech version is set in the Beskydy mountains, which is a picturesque area in the east of the Czech Republic, like Portwenn, a long way from the capital, Prague, and dependent on the tourist industry.[11]

As of January 2016, an American remake of the show is being planned, led by Marta Kauffman, co-creator of the successful TV show Friends.[4]

DVD releases

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

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. Series 1-6 are currently available on Amazon Prime Video.


In 2013, it was announced that two novels were to be released to coincide with the 6th series.[12]


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


  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. Martin Clunes returns as Britain’s favourite grumpy medic
  4. 1 2 Debnath, Neela (Jan 13, 2016). "Doc Martin series 8: Martin Clunes comedy confirmed to return for final outing". Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  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 Archived 13 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine..
  10. Plívová, Alžběta (2014-04-08). "Doktor z hor – Miroslav Donutil jako lékař v Beskydech, ČT začala natáčet seriálu Doktor Martin". Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  11. Bowden, Cathy. "Úvodní stránka — Doktor Martin — Česká televize". Česká televize. Retrieved 2015-09-17.
  12. "New 'Doc Martin' books". Retrieved 24 November 2013.
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