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.


  1. So Bert, is Al gay? or does he have a thing for Aunt Ruth.