Friday 27 November 2015

Martin Clunes on final Doc Martin season

Want an idea of just how popular Doc Martin is? When the British drama about a curmudgeonly doctor in a Cornish fishing village advertised for extras in the local Port Isaac press, more than 800 people showed up.

In the giant queue, which snaked around the local church hall, there were no fewer than 150 babies in prams and pushchairs eager to be chosen for the role of the doctor's 11-month-old son, James Henry. That is one well-loved show!

Over six series, Doc Martin s has averaged nine million viewers a week in the UK and star Clunes Clunes, who plays the lovable yet grumpy medic, has won himself an army of die-hard fans. Calling themselves "Clunatics", they lavish gifts on the cast and crew to underline just how much they love the drama. "They are a group of Doc Martin fans who keep thanking us for helping them to make great friendships with other fans around the world. They Skype each other," explains Clunes, 53, who has played the role for 11 years. "When episodes go out, they have discussions on it, and when there are no episodes going out, they have more discussions. There is one woman logging all the ties I wear in the show. She says, 'I don't think I have seen this tie since season two. Mind you, I haven't logged all the season six ties yet'," says the actor, who is married to the show's producer, Philippa Braithwaite. The couple live in rural bliss in Dorset, with their teenage daughter, Emily.

We've had so many presents; paintings of myself and cast members, a fridge magnet of Jimmy, my Jack Russell, paintings of my horses. A lady from Iceland hand-knitted a sweater for me, one for Emily and one for Philippa – and one for Brian the props man because he was nice to her in the pub one night," continues Clunes.

"We were given a big jar of M&Ms with 'DM' printed on each one of them for us all. Some of the Clunatics even found us when we were filming on the moors."

Clunes, who has just spent a very contented four months shooting the latest series in Port Isaac, is touched, and a little taken aback, by the show's global popularity. "When we started making Doc Martin, we could never have imagined it would have this reaction," he says. "We never anticipated this. You can't predict how successful something will be."

As the seventh series kicks off this week, Doc Martin looks set to remain as popular as ever. Dr Martin Ellingham, the GP with the disastrous bedside manner and a morbid fear of blood, has his work cut out in the new series, set in the fictional bucolic seaside hamlet of Portwenn. Louisa (played by Caroline Catz from DCI Banks), the woman he recently married, has had enough of his grouchiness and has walked out. She has taken young James Henry and gone off to stay with her mother in Spain.

Keep reading HERE.

Thursday 26 November 2015

A Conversation with Ian McNeice – “Doc Martin’s Beloved “Bert Large”

By Karen Gilleland © 2015

 I had a short telephone interview with Ian McNeice when he attended the American Public Television Fall Marketplace in Atlanta in November. He’s the type of person you wish you could sit down with and talk to for hours. I’d describe him as an interesting, gracious, humorous, lovely man.

At the 2013 Fall Marketplace in Boston, you described Season 6 as “quite dark.” How would you characterize Season 7?
What’s come out of Season 7 is how much everyone enjoyed making it. Philippa [producer] regards it as one of the best series we’ve ever done. I hope they don’t rest on their laurels and say, “We’ve done it now; we don’t need to do any more.” I think they should take it as a springboard and say, “Let’s do it even better next time.” That’s what we’re all hoping for — the chance to do it again.

Given that the show has become an international phenomenon, and you an international celebrity, what do you find most surprising?
What’s been surprising over the years, in going to Port Isaac, is the interaction with the fans. I am really touched by their interest and love. They adore the show and the characters. You have to keep your feet on the ground. It’s a terrific honor to appear in a show that has touched so many people. When we go to the village, we see people from all over Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Japan, America, everywhere.

They want to come and see where the show is made. And they can’t believe we’re there filming. You hear them saying: “Oh my goodness, they’re here. This is fantastic.” It’s a real joy and honor to appear in such a show.

Where do you live during filming?
All the main actors are given a choice. We can have a cottage in the village itself or stay at a hotel. Some people opt for a cottage, some for a hotel. I’ve been fortunate. Every summer, I’ve managed to stay in the same house. It’s in the village, has an incredible view of the harbor below and is beautifully equipped inside.

You might say I run a bed & breakfast. The entire period we’re down there we have friends who come and stay. There’s a cushion in the house that says: “You never know how many friends you have until you have a house in Cornwall.” It’s true. Again, it’s like running a bed & breakfast. You wake up in the morning and come upstairs and say, “Do you want two eggs with that or one?”
It’s a joy to be in the village. We are now part of the culture. I know the locals. In fact, I’m going down in December for a wedding of friends I’ve made there.

Keep reading HERE at Karen's blog.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Cheery Clunes couldn't be more different to his Doc Martin character

Martin Clunes is the star and co-steward of Doc Martin, the popular and personally beloved British import about a big-city doctor whose life becomes enmeshed, to his ongoing discomfort, with the people of Portwenn, a Cornish fishing village (He retreats there when a suddenly acquired fear of blood interrupts his surgical career).

It is a comedy of extreme frustration, in which Clunes' Dr. Ellingham, highly competent at his job and self-defeating in life, nevertheless manages to fall in love, with Caroline Catz's schoolteacher Louisa, have a child and marry, in that order (There are many other characters, each frustrated and frustrating in his or her own way). This has happened at a glacial pace and with many excruciating detours – a pace slowed further by the fact that, though the events of one season lead more or less straight into the events of the next, the show now appears only every other year. Martin and Louisa's son, James, born in a 2011 episode, is still a baby.

That on-off, schedule, which involves both Clunes and his producer wife, Philippa Braithwaite, has been adopted in order to not unduly disturb either the life of their daughter or that of Port Isaac (Port Wenn in the series), where the show films; its global success, which has also generated native adaptations in several other countries, has turned the town into something of a tourist destination. It's also because, Clunes says, "We'd never get the scripts in shape in any less time. It's not an easy show to write. However much time is never enough".

Though the character he plays on television is serious to a fault, Clunes himself is a cheery sort who finds amusement everywhere; indeed, he can barely speak for laughing.

It's your show, you're somewhat in charge of the character. But to what degree is he in charge of you?

That's a good question. I can tell off the page just reading it to myself when scripts come in and somebody's just gauged it wrong. Like if he apologizes, or uses the F-word – we don't go there. It sounds so wanky to say he lives, but I'm also very aware that I'm motivated by a huge desire to fall over and walk into things to make people laugh. You do get into a groove, which is great, when you get to act with the same people a lot. Like with, Caroline Catz – it's like a duet, you're like a duo jamming together.

Keep reading HERE at

3 Reasons Why We Love Doc Martin

What is it about Dr. Martin Ellingham’s abrasive bedside manner and particular ways that keeps up coming back to watch his jaw dropping antics? For over a decade, Doc Martin has been a favorite not only of our viewers here at GPB but all over the world.

The reasons why we love him are countless and we’ll get to reminisce in the must see behind the scenes special “Doc Martin: Seven Grumpy Seasons” which premieres on GPB on Thursday, November 26 at 8:30 pm. In honor of this occassion, special guest Ian McNeice who plays Bert Large, will be in studio taking part in the roast of the good doctor. An appropriate exercise for Turkey Day we think!

We also thought of the answer to the first question posed in this post. There are many responses but here are 3 reasons why we love Doc Martin:

1. He’s socially awkward. In the rural English town of Portwenn, everyone is friendly and pleasant. Doc Martin on the other hand seems to have trouble assimilating with the locals...or he doesn’t want to. His sour attitude throws the townspeople off, an attitude particularly strange for a doctor; he simply cannot grasp the concept of “small talk” and his humor has a lot to be desired. In season one episode two, “Gentlemen Prefer”, Martin cracks a joke about needing 1,000 loyalty points for a free coffin - not the best way to approach a patient!

2. Despite his lack of warmth, he’s always honest. Martin might not be the most pleasant person in Portwenn, but he’ll tell it like it is for your own good. In season two episode 14, “Erotomania” for example, Martin gives Mark some bad news about his fiancee. While Mark refuses to believe that Julie is a fake, he later realizes Martin was telling the truth. Speaking of truth…

3. The good doctor does have a soft-spot. In the same episode, Martin lets his true feelings for Louise slip. Martin isn’t much of a drinker but Louise convinces him to have wine at his place. After several sips Martin proclaims, “ All I think about every day is just catching a glimpse of you.” Pretty smooth doc, until he takes it back and accuses Louise of having erotomania, the delusion that a stranger is in love with you. Ouch!

Found HERE at GPB.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Calling All Clunatics: Send Your Doc Martin Fan Video Messages for Martin Clunes NOW

Doc Martin fans: NOW is the time for you to record your special fan video messages for Martin Clunes, because they could be shown on live TV on ITV!

One of the producers of Lorraine, the ITV morning show, just let me know that host Lorraine Kelly will be chatting with Doc Martin star Martin Clunes this Thursday, 19 November 2015.

Even better, the show’s producers are inviting fans of Martin Clunes and Doc Martin to send in video messages about your love for the ever-popular ITV series and its star.

So if you’ve ever wanted to tell Martin about how big a Clunatic you are, here’s your chance!
(And if you’re desperate for Series 8 of Doc Martin, you can also make your pleas, I mean desires, known to the man who can make it happen.)

Both individual and group fan videos are welcome.

The producers will be selecting the best videos to show to Martin and Lorraine viewers during his segment, so make yours brilliant!
Videos should:
  • Focus on why you love Doc Martin and Martin Clunes.
  • Be kept to 10-20 seconds max in length.
  • Emailed to MMA@ITV.COM — NO LATER THAN 3 PM UK time (10 AM Eastern/7 AM Pacific) tomorrow, Wednesday, 18 November 2015. (Videos larger than 10MB should be sent using WeTransfer.)
  • Note: Begging and pleading for Doc Martin: Series 8 is optional.
Here’s to your fan videos being shown to Martin Clunes on the Lorraine show!

Found HERE at The British TV Place.

Friday 13 November 2015

Series 8??

The seventh series of Doc Martin is about to complete its national premiere in the US, and fans already want to know if there will be an eighth. So I asked Ian McNeice.

Ian McNeice, aka Doc Martin‘s Bert Large, is in the US right now, at American Public Television’s Fall Marketplace, where public TV programming execs are gathered to meet him and enthuse about Doc Martin, while screening others of APT’s programs for their upcoming schedules.

We all know Ian as a fine actor, and now I can say from personal experience that he is a genuinely nice guy, too, as he was happy to chat with me by phone this morning, despite my cracking, croaky, under-the-weather voice.

Before we spoke about Doc Martin, we spent a couple minutes on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, which I recently re-watched and in which Ian played several roles. Here’s a bit of trivia he shared with me: As a result of the reciprocity agreement for the RSC’s troupe of 38 British actors appearing on Broadway, London’s West End got… Elizabeth Taylor in the play Little Foxes.

Then we moved straight into Doc Martin, one of the most popular British TV imports ever. With Acorn TV about to stream the finale of Doc Martin: Series 7, and public TV stations set for the broadcast premiere of the series in 2016, what I and the rest of Doc Martin fandom want to know is this: Will there be a Series 8?

According to Ian:

“Every year that we make the series, we come to the end of the filming, and the last two weeks are all spent with the same question. All the actors ask each other, ‘Do you think we’re going to come back?’ Nobody knows… We all want to come back, but we have no idea, and it all hinges on two or three things.

“It hinges on the ratings, whether the ratings are good for ITV, and the next one is whether everyone wants to do it or not. So that really relies on whether Martin Clunes wants to do it again, whether Philippa Braithwaite and Mark Crowdy, the producers, come up with enough good script ideas. There’s a limit to how many ‘will they or won’t they get together again,’ which is a mainstay of the show.

“The good news is that, this past series has been one of the best that they’ve ever done. Everybody’s very happy with it. ITV are over the moon with it. The ratings have been terrific… And ITV is going to give us a dinner to celebrate the viewing figures.”

Keep reading HERE at The British TV Place.

Monday 9 November 2015

The week in TV: Doc Martin

Doc Martin represents one of my guiltier pleasures, in that I watch it in what I think of as my time “off”, freed from doing the serious important note-taking shtick or being asked to struggle professionally to fathom the enduring appeal of Downton. The Big Bang Theory, The Wright Stuff, reruns of Jonathan Creek or Endeavour – all are just-for-me equivalents of warm mismatched socks, a hot-water bottle and burnt bubbling cheap cheese on toast. Bliss.

So I dread the day Martin Ellingham – his surname an anagram of showrunner Dominic Minghella, is this interesting? (No, Ed.) – gets all worthy or political or even relevant, and I have to review it seriously. And, the saints be blessed, that still looks roundly unlikely from this sofa. We’re still freely invited, 11 years on and at the close of the latest series, to giggle smugly at Cornwall, and what immense fun that is. Those who have been there know that the inhabitants live in perhaps the most glorious corner of God’s green earth, and there should be payback, so we’re probably entitled to regard the Cornubian batholith as the Land That Education Forgot. Almost everyone be a moron.

Bert Large is a cunning 20-chinned moron. Son Al is a misunderstood moron. Mrs Tishell is a comedy escapee from The Archers, and a moron in italics. Sexy Morwenna is a trainee moron (yet there’s hope, and, left to her own devices, she correctly divines that 100% of those waiting for the absent doctor’s curt ministrations are slouchy malingerers or alcoholics). King Captain Moron is, of course, PC Joe, who in this final series episode managed to louse up in every way imaginable short of snagging his own pancreas in a bear-trap. Actor John Marquez deserves great credit: not since Father Dougal has there been on our screens a more credible, human, moron.

 In the end, after some relatively serious business involving the Doc’s kidnapping, serious mainly because one doesn’t ever dick about with Gemma Jones possessed of the “nice” end of a shotgun and a righteous wrath, Louisa and Martin were gently reunited. “I think I’ve been a little bit obsessed with people having to be normal. But they’re not, are they?” You said it, girl from Cornwall. Sweeter, more seriously, “I know you weren’t going to let me down,” which is very much all a girl wants. But… only sometimes. Hence the clever personal tension underwriting the relationship at the heart of this series, and which, apart from the sweet morons and Martin Clunes’s deadpan perfections, lends it its entirely fathomable appeal. More, more.

Found HERE at the Guardian.

Monday 2 November 2015

Much the same thing....Spain? Are you sure?!

Doc Martin – ITV, 9pm

DOC Martin has been held hostage so many times, the surprise is PC Penhale hasn't engaged himself as his personal bodyguard.

Tonight he's back in the clutches of yet another crazed villager. Although, handily for the last episode of the series, having time to himself, albeit unwanted, does give him an opportunity to reflect on his and Louisa's future. A moment of realisation he undergoes at the end of every season, before the next one starts, amidst thudding inevitability, with the couple right back at the beginning.

As it stands, Louisa is supposed to be leaving for Spain. Soon, however, she is amidst a rescue party of villagers hellbent on setting the, er, much-loved, Doc free.

Found HERE

It's strange to think that Martin Clunes is now more well-known for Doc Martin than he would be for, say, Men Behaving Badly. Crazy. Anyway, the finale in the series sees Louisa worrying about Dr Timoney's suggestion that she and Martin aren't meant to be together might have prompted him to leave Portwenn for good. Calling on Ruth, Morwenna and Janice for help, she tries to track the down the missing GP, with no luck. However, what Dr Ellingham's friends and family fail to realise is that he is actually trapped up at the Winton farm, where desperate wife Annie is trying to coerce him into performing a life-saving operation on her terminally ill husband Jim. Meanwhile, Ruth and Bert seek out Al to offer him a proposition regarding the whisky and the B&B

Found HERE.