BY BILLY SUTER
GOOD news if you have enjoyed the British drama series, Doc Martin, on DStv’s ITV Choice… the show, starring Martin Clunes in the title role, is currently shooting an eight-episode eighth season in Cornwall, England, to be shown later this year.
Also, word is that a ninth and final season has been planned for 2018, while other news is that an American version of the show is also in the pipeline.
The series, which started in 2004 and had its seventh season end in 2015, 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, it tells of grumpy Dr Martin Ellingham (Clunes), a successful vascular surgeon in London who develops haemophobia (a fear of blood) and is forced to stop practising surgery.
He then gets a post at the sole general practitioner in the sleepy (fictitious) Cornish town of Portwenn, where he had spent his childhood days with his aunt, Joan (Stephanie Cole), who owns a local farm.
The show revolves around Ellingham’s interactions with the local villagers. Despite his medical excellence, Ellingham is grouchy, pugnacious and lacks social skills.
His direct, emotionless manner offends many of the villagers, and it is made worse by his invariably unpleasant responses to their comments. They perceive him to be hot-tempered and lacking in a bedside manner.
The series is filmed on location in the English village of Port Isaac, Cornwall, with most interior scenes shot in a converted local barn, reports Wikipedia.
Caroline Catz plays Doc Martin’s wife and local school headmistress, Louisa Ellingham. After having therapy to save their marriage in the last series, they face the challenge of living happily together with their baby, James Henry.
Says Clunes: “I’m thrilled to be back on the beautiful North Cornish coast to shoot series eight of Doc Martin. The Doc is as obstinate as ever, but he is trying his best to be a better husband and father.”
Returning to the series, Dame Eileen Atkins plays Doc Martin’s formidable Aunt Ruth, who is beginning to doubt the wisdom of going into business with Bert Large (Ian McNeice) and his son Al (Joe Absolom).
Meanwhile, Bert is desperate to make his home distilled whisky a success, but there’s a shortage of customers willing to buy and guests are not exactly flocking to Al’s bed and breakfast. He fears he will have to close the doors for good.
Also in the new storyline, wedding bells are ringing for unlucky-in-love PC Joe Penhale (John Marquez), who popped the question to the Doc’s nanny, Janice Bone (Robyn Addison), in the last series, and is looking forward to marital bliss. But will the course of true love run smoothly at last for Portwenn’s police officer?
There’s romance, too, for the doctor’s receptionist, Morwenna Newcross (Jessica Ransom), who has hooked up with Al. But there’s devastating news for Morwenna when her parents Jack and Tara Newcross return to Portwenn unexpectedly.
Art Malik (Cold Feet, Homeland) guest stars in the new series playing John Rahmanzai, a visitor to Portwenn, who surprises Ruth with information about someone from her past.
Doc Martin is screened worldwide, including in the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Italy, Russia, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Sweden, Uruguay, Venezuela and across the African continent via ITV Choice (DStv’s channel 123).