Arts & Entertainment, Featured, News

Martin Clunes (aka Doc Martin) Proves That Laughter Is, Indeed, the Best Medicine

'Doc Martin' and Dodger will have you at edge of your seat in season 7

‘Doc Martin’ and Dodger will have you at edge of your seat in season 7

By Terry Miller

Having lived a good deal of my young life in Devon and Cornwall in southwest England, I was immediately drawn to a quirky television show on KCET called “Doc Martin.” In this outstanding comedy/drama, the beautiful and almost idyllic fishing village is really one of the main characters along with the protagonist, Doctor Martin Ellingham. Now about to launch season seven, this side of the pond, Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) took a few minutes to talk with us about the zany, albeit brilliant buffoon of a doctor.

What makes this irritating doctor so bloody marvelous? That depends on who you ask. But for this reporter, it is just plain brilliant acting and writing, combined with a dash of cheekiness, all baked carefully into one a scrumptious Cornish pasty.

“Doc Martin” is a catchy comedy/drama that stars Clunes (“Men Behaving Badly”) as Martin Ellingham, whose truculence and tactless manner causes mayhem in a small Cornish community. The series details the trials and tribulations of the brash Ellingham, once a celebrated London surgeon who left his job after developing a phobia to blood. After retraining as a general practitioner, he gets a job in the beautiful but sleepy village of Portwenn, replacing their deceased local doctor – but his abrasive personality does not exactly mesh with the pace of the Cornish Village where time has stood still since the 15th Century … that is, until now.

Beacon Media (BM): Are you surprised by the global popularity of “Doc Martin?”
Martin Clunes (MC): We were really surprised and delighted to see so many countries embrace “Doc Martin.”

BM: When you are shooting in Port Isaac, Cornwall, how long are you there?
MC: Well we are there generally about five and a half months and I always pop home to the farm on Fridays for the weekend to be with my wife and daughter in Dorset.

BM: The incredibly quirky characters absolutely make the show and the writing is brilliant. This year “Downton Abbey” has a float in the Rose Parade … any chance we may see a “Doc Martin/Portwenn Float” in a future Rose Parade here in Pasadena?
MC: What is “Downton Abbey?” Never heard of it [laughing]. Actually, I had never really thought of it but I would not rule it out. That is funny.

BM: Season seven is rumored to be the last, is this true?
MC: No, definitely not. We are having way too much fun in Cornwall. I just love it there.

BM: The doctor’s marriage to Louisa is at a critical stage, hence the need for some therapy.
MC: Yes, couple’s therapy obviously and perhaps the timing of this intensely difficult subject will be of some help to others in a similar situation.

BM: You are obviously a great animal lover but particularly horses. Why is this?
MC: Well, my wife (the television show producer, Philippa Braithwaite) and daughter are very fond of horses so I had to go along with it otherwise I would be left alone on the weekends. Actually, I love riding my Clydesdales at home in Dorset and actually once rode the Budweiser Clydesdales in New Orleans, that was great fun.
BM: You are a big supporter of animal therapy, in particular with horses. Are there any particular charities you are fond of?
MC: Yes, you know horses never lie. They are wonderful and I try to help Horse Course, a young offenders program where they teach these young people respect for living creatures. Also a group called Fortune Center for life skills and The Horse Boy Project that is having tremendous success with those afflicted with autism.

BM: The brilliant cast, crew, and writers have led to a hugely successful show. But I have been told that until the moment you actually put on the suit … then, and only then do you transform into the dreaded, but terribly efficient Dr. Ellingham.
MC: Yes, well, [laughing] I suppose we all do really when we dress up. Sort of changes your personality. We all play roles … I once put on a Nazi uniform for a TV show … I was not very good. Or it was not very good, I do not know.

BM: You have become legendary, if you will, not unlike King Arthur and Merlin in Tintagel [a few miles away from Port Issac, aka PortWenn].
MC: Wait, I have to write that down, that is fantastic!

For those not familiar with the show, we highly recommend seeing the show from the beginning as the characters develop and story lines take you into this marvelous world in Port Issac, Cornwall.
For schedules of the shows please go to:

January 8, 2016

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17 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Martin Clunes (aka Doc Martin) Proves That Laughter Is, Indeed, the Best Medicine”

  1. Melinda says:

    I love Doc Martin. A devote clunatic here.

  2. Marcia Wandell says:

    You are very fortunate to have Ian McNeice available this weekend for folks in Pasadena. He is brilliant, as is Martin Clunes. Having visited Port Isaac last spring to observe filming, they and the remainder of the cast, and crew, could not have been more charming! !
    The Clunatics are a HUGE group of people in the world who adore all things DOC MARTIN.

  3. So looking forward for season 7 to get started on PBS NEBRASKA and IOWA. thankyou …I did purchase all the series prior to this one and do not tire of watching reruns !!

  4. Nancy Assaf says:

    I’m SO glad that season 7 is not the last. At the end of season 6, Doc was starting to melt a little and realize the effect he had on others and on Louisa. Then, in season 7, he was right back to his old ways. I found that frustrating, so maybe in season 8 he will begin to grow again and show a little warmth and humor. Clunes is one of those actors whom you cannot stop watching, no matter who’s in the scene. I saw the horse video where he visited New Orleans and realized the horse ranch where the Clydesdales were housed is about 5 minutes up the highway from my house!! Wish I’d known then that he was there.

  5. Jennifer McMahon says:

    I’ve got to get to Port Isaac. I’d love to see Tintagel, too. I’m a fan of King Arthur. I’m a much bigger fan of Dr. Ellingham, though. (See, I know how he likes to be called.)

  6. Karen Hastings says:

    I just LOVE this show!!so happy that it’s going on!!

  7. carolyn flemming says:

    Thanks for a good article. I have all the DVDs of Doc Martin and have watched them numerous times.

  8. Vi Brown says:

    How fortunate we are to have Karen to keep the Clunatics up to date on all things about the show and Doc Martin in particular. Great interview by Terry Miller. Thanks again

  9. Peggy Allen says:

    BRAVO! and thank you Terry Miller for this excellent piece about a program and characters that we love… adore. It is a fun and informative read. If we (CLUNATICS, an American based fan club of nationally located Doc Martin zealots; now boasting >16,000 combined members) Petition for 10 (instead of its current 8) Doc Martin episodes per Series, will you sign?

    If we had more episodes per Series, our whining and suffering through the long wait between each new Series would be significantly eased. Just think. . . DM Series 8 won’t come down the pike until March 2017 (woeful). What say you?

  10. William Jewell says:

    I am so happy to hear there will be a Doc Martin 8 and hope for many more.

    William and Pat Jewell

  11. Sue Shaffer says:

    Doc Martin helps put things of this world in proper perspective as the characters help expose our humaness, sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful. And very entertaining!

  12. jbakerpoe says:

    Very nice to work near home and be near family, at least for the weekend. As everyone else, I love he show and can’ t wait for the next episodes.

  13. Doug says:

    We stayed in Port Isaac in March 2013 and were fortunate enough to stay in the “school house” overlooking Doc Martin’s house and that beautiful inlet. What a wonderful, wonderful village.

  14. Sandra jalili says:

    Amplified Bible Proverbs 17:22 A happy heart is a good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing
    So keep up the good work on the Doc Martin show it is hilarious and entertaining.

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