How the Angry Doc Martin Became a TV Phenomenon

meIt was 2004 and Martin Clunes was ready for a change. As the star of the 90’s naughty sitcom Men behave badly, he was still widely regarded as the face of floppy, drooping eyelashes lad culture. But Clunes was eager to show a different side: to prove he could do serious, frothy action. At this point, Dr. Martin Ellingham, an emotionally repressed small-town GP with a narrow smile and a big heart, entered his life. Doc Martin I entered the building.

“It was a leap”, the Clunes will reflect on the character he has portrayed for the past 18 years and who he has said goodbye to with an ITV Tonight Christmas special (the series which concluded in October). “I need something to act with, someone to act on, something for someone to comment on, rather than just opening up a script and a nice guy saying kind of nice things.”

Doc Martin, the lovable eccentric in whom the Clunes exhaled such glorious grandeur, is introduced by plane from London to Cornwall, where he is interviewing for a job as a family physician. He was also staring at the lady sitting across from him. Lady Louisa considered this strange and frightful. In fact, Martin—who made a glamorous career as a surgeon after developing a fear of blood—discovered the early signs of glaucoma in one of her eyes. One misunderstanding led to another, and now—nearly two decades later—Martin and Louisa are married with two children.

Social chaos, a mysterious physical illness, and the hint of chemistry. was here Doc Martin Something small. Ellingham got a GP gig. In a few series, he and Louisa were an item. And Doc Martin became a phenomenon, with the finale of the fourth series attracting 10 million viewers.

More than that, it became – with apologies Poldark and Aidan Turner’s three-horned hat – the most beloved screen representation of Cornwall. Every summer, hundreds of “Clunatics” descend on the fishing village of Port Isaac – renamed “Portwenn” on screen – and sniff it all Doc Martinfrom everything.

She achieves her blockbuster status by wowing viewers with her quirky team: alongside Martin and Louisa are larger-than-life plumber Bert (Ian MacNeice), and pharmacist Sally (Selina Cadell), who develops a crush on Martin and Ruth Ellingham. (Elaine Atkins), a retired clinical psychologist and Martin’s aunt.

Doc Martin Audiences were also stunned and bewildered by the many ailments Ellingham faced week after week. A ruptured spleen, deep fryer burns, collapsed lungs, and the near-death caused by a Viagra overdose — they’re all part and parcel of… Doc Martin expertise. In one early episode, two men grew breasts after sleeping with the same woman who was overdoing hormone replacement cream on her breasts and passing it on to her sexual partners. “Which would take a lot of hormone replacement cream,” Clunes said. “[But] It’s not technically impossible.”

What the show didn’t do was reinvent the wheel. British television has a proud tradition of fish-out-of-water dramas. From All creatures great and small (Glasgow parachute vet in Yorkshire Dales) to Balikesangel (an English priest stranded in the mountainous Wicklow), the formula is part of the middle brow telly furniture. But no one can compete with Najah Doc Martin. It is broadcast all over the world, and has a major following in the United States (from which Clunatics generally hails). It has produced domestic versions in Germany, France, Spain and Russia.

Such is her influence that has also attracted guest stars like Danny Huston and Sigourney Weaver. Weaver is a friend of Cadell (the aforementioned pharmacist Sally) and appears in The Jonathan Ross Showlet it be known that she was about to participate in it Doc Martin. Her producer called Philippa Braithwaite (Clune’s wife): after a few months a star alien And the Ghostbusters Cornwall had to play the American tourist.

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Martin Clunes starred as the villainous Doc Martin in the long-running ITV series


However, despite the guest stars and distinct cast of locals, the series’ appeal stems largely from its eponymous character. Not only is he very different from the likable characters the Clones have played for most of his career, he’s also a departure from the likable hero stereotype. Lacking social skills and indifferent to the feeling of others, Doc Martin has few antecedents on television (his only real counterpart is another misfit TV medic, Dr. Gregory House, as portrayed by Hugh Laurie from 2004 to 2012). Those qualities were exactly what drew the Clones to Ellingham – as much as they would later win over viewers. He enjoyed playing a stranger who was different from him in every way.

“I really like the sense of liberation I get just from playing someone who is never rude for the sake of being polite,” he told Los Angeles Times in 2012. “I really like it. I have to ask [the actors’] So first, but my patients who are very old or very young, I really like to be tough with them.”

Another great strength of Doc Martin, Clunes believes, is the odd couple romance between the button-up Ellingham and the more expressive Louisa. Their awkward encounter on that plane was the opposite of a cute encounter. However, week after week, they became inseparable — and soon the public was hugely invested in the relationship.

“I really think Caroline Katz has carved such a niche for herself in this role,” Clunes said. Los Angeles Times. And those are the scenes I love to do. This love affair — when we started, we were thinking, ironically, ‘Well, she’s just a really smart girl, really, and there’s going to be a girl in her.’ And soon that little trip was the most interesting thing. .Judging by the things the people on the street here said to me, that’s obviously what they were going to see.”

Humbug: The Clones’ latest outing as the character comes in for a Christmas special


They were also fascinated by Ellingham’s character. A consensus soon emerged that he was “on the spectrum,” meaning autistic, to one degree or another. Nobody is involved Doc Martin Ever confirmed or denied this. The question was best left unanswered. “The moment you start diagnosing it, there will be a tendency to treat it,” Clunes said. As first and foremost a character actor, I’ve always resisted the temptation to treat or likable any of the people I’ve played with in any way; you just have to celebrate them for who they are. about him very early on, and I’ve had letters from societies and things asking me to talk. Because that wasn’t my intention—I just made the guy.”

If the appeal of the drama is evident, Doc MartinIt was just a trip to the screen. The character’s origins are from intercedea 2000 feature comedy directed by Nigel Cole about a widow Cornish (Brenda Blethyn) who becomes a cannabis dealer to save her home from repossession.

We didn’t want to do the Doc Hollywood thing of a “smart city doctor amazed and confused by his quirky neighbors”…we kind of wanted to turn that on its head

Martin Clunes

Clunes played Dr. Martin Bamford, a friendly, talkative friend of Grace’s who was somewhat like the Doc Martin character. Although not an outrage, the Clones have been a hit with audiences. So much so that the character was spun off into two prequels for British Sky Broadcasting, to explore how Bamford ended up in Cornwall: Doc Martin And the Doc Martin and the legend of Cloutie (A piece of cloth or cloth tied to a tree as an offering to the spirits).

Under his deal with BSB, the Clunes were to make two TV movies a year for three years. However, Sky Pictures closed after making only two pictures. And so the Clunes, along with his wife and their production company, Buffalo Pictures, marketed the idea to ITV. Clones and Braithwaite came up with Doc Martin Collaborating with Dominic Minghella, brother of the late director’s screenwriter Anthony (though he left after the second season). “They said they didn’t mind me being a doctor there,” Clunes recalled of his conversations with ITV. “So we had the license to take it apart and build something from the ground up. We didn’t want to do the Doc Hollywood something of a “smart city doctor who is startled and confused by his quirky neighbours”; We kind of wanted to turn that on its head, and that was a small community united by terror by this despicable GP.”

Family Guy: Clunes and Co. in the “Doc Martin” Christmas special


This ‘vile GP’ would win hearts across the UK. Cornwall was one place where it was not universally embraced. Some locals believe they are already struggling with an influx of rich people from abroad and skyrocketing property prices Doc Martin It was making their already difficult life even more difficult.

Port Isaac, where I was born and lived all my life, was completely destroyed Doc Martinsaid attorney Dugald Spall Cornwall Live in 2017. “It is now overrun by day-trippers who hop into the village to gaze upon the various houses that appear in the series. True, they might buy a pie or an ice-cream, but no more than that.”

The detractors finally have their wish, as Doc Martin begins performing the great surgery in the sky after the Christmas special airs. Weirdly, in this, they may have something in common with the Clones, who weren’t always comfortable playing the lead role. He said, “I just want to do something else, too.” times Back in 2012. “I want to go back to supporting, and not take everything on my shoulders to play the lead. Because I’m basically a lucky character actor, you know?”

It wasn’t just luck. The public will say a tearful goodbye to Doc Martin on Christmas Day. But they may feel blessed to have, over the course of 18 bumpy years, gotten to know this lovable weirdo, quirks and all.

‘Doc Martin’ Christmas special broadcast on ITV1 at 9.05pm on Christmas Day

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