As an antidote to this long cold Canadian winter we have been having, I have developed a new way of coping. Whenever I get cold or down, I go on Netflix and watch a Doc Martin episode. I have now ripped through the first 3 seasons and I look forward to season 6 starting on TV soon (some PBS stations tonight-check local listings- and VisionTV on Wed March 19).
Martin Clunes plays Dr. Martin Ellingham, the curmudgeonly doctor first espied as a minor character in the film Saving Grace with Brenda Blethyn and Craig Ferguson. Clunes and his wife (producer Phillipa Braithwaite) apparently liked the character and the village of Port Isaac so much that they convinced ITV to make a TV series out of it. Good move! They film in the summers on the north coast of Cornwall and every time I put it on, I feel like I have spent an hour in a lovely Cornish village (closing eyes and smiling and sighing right now).
Caroline Catz is the good doctor's love interest Louisa. She apparently looks past his rude demeanor to see something that we only get to see when he had a very rare glass of wine. Imbibing some liquid courage seems the only way that tenderness will trump frankness in this hilariously brusque fellow.
The medical content is pretty far fetched but totally hilarious most of the time. It is more of a comedic medical mystery show than a medical show. Absolutely unbelievable and will have you belly laughing and smirking if you share my sense of humour.
Ian McNeice and Joe Absolom play father/son team Bert and Al Large, first plumbers and then restaurateurs. The look on Bert's face in the photo above says it all!
Stephanie Cole plays Martin's Aunty Joan, who he apparently spent summers with as a young lad and we find out is much more of a mother to him than his own mater who shipped him off to boarding school. Small wonder the Doc has no bedside manner as Aunty Joan is almost as matter of fact as he is, although with a much more tender soul.
And then the rest of the cast is rounded out by equally wacky characters such as Doc Martin's receptionist (I think he is now on his third) and a single police constable for the entire village who provides more comic relief. Selina Cadell as Mrs. Tishell the chemist (pharmacist) has a little crush on the doctor, and you have to see one particular episode to have the cervical collar explained.
So if you like me have passed this series by up until now, I can heartily endorse it. Especially if you need a little dose of a Cornish summer right about now.
I think I'll re-watch Saving Grace tonight to see the genesis of Doc Martin. It's a pretty good flick too if I recall!
P.S. Watch the way Doc Martin runs down the streets of the fictitious Port Wenn in his ever present suit. Makes me laugh every time someone has an emergency, which is about as often as a murder in the town of Midsomer.
P.P.S. There is an extensive list of guest appearances by stars such as Chris O'Dowd, Sophie Thompson, Celia Imrie, David Bamber, Lucy Robinson, Benjamin Whitrow, Phyllida Law, Sylvestra la Touzel etc etc. Fun!