Martin Clunes' Doc Martin is back for another series – good news for his 'Clunatics'. Susan Griffin meets the man behind one of TV's most grouchiest characters.
They might have played best mates in Men Behaving Badly, but in real life it transpires Neil Morrissey and Martin Clunes have had a falling out.
It's because Caroline Quentin, who played Martin's put-upon girlfriend in the hit Nineties sitcom, has been asked to appear in the new series of Doc Martin, but not Morrissey.
Martin, who lives in Dorset, jokes that Neil is fed up about not appearing in the series which sees him playing the grouchy Dr Martin Ellingham once more. The show now has fans all over the world and boasts a cameo from Sigourney Weaver in the upcoming run.
Caroline will play Angela Sim, a holistic vet ("everything the Doc hates") and the daughter of the previous GP – "who he hates although they've never met".
"I see Caroline all the time because we are friends but it was the first time we've filmed a scene together in 17 years. The pair of us just laughed like children," says Martin, who adds the part was written for her.
In the last series, viewers saw the Doc marry head teacher Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz), but their wedded bliss was shortlived and after a life-threatening incident, she decided to take their son James Henry to stay with her mother in Spain.
Fans are apparently furious about the break-up, particularly the Americans who, Martin divulges, "are so vocal".
"They have discussion groups on every single episode and they pull it apart and break it down, making notes and queries," he reveals.
One dedicated group call themselves the "Clunatics" and have showered Martin, his wife Philippa Braithwaite – who he's co-produced the show with since its debut in 2004 – and their teenage daughter Emily with gifts, such as paintings of their horses and hand-knitted sweaters. Meanwhile, another fan has suggested that the actor, who's also made various documentaries, including Islands Of Britain and Man & Beast With Martin Clunes, make a programme about autism.
"I said, 'I'm the last person who should do that', because this never was a study in autism. I just think people have noticed some similarities [in the Doc], but it's fiction."
Does he believe the Doc is autistic?
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