Sunday, August 25, 2013

Martin Clunes: 'It doesn’t sound promising, a show about a cranky doctor’ Martin Clunes talks about his surprise at Doc Martin’s success

Family man: Martin Clunes no longer behaves quite so badly

By Daphne Lockyer7:00AM BST 25 Aug 2013

Martin Clunes is turning a blind eye to the Doc Martin “stalker” who lurks in the choir stalls of St Nonna’s, a pretty Norman church in the Cornish village of Altarnun. While he poses for pictures with his co-star, Caroline Catz, the matronly gatecrasher – who has flown in from Texas to loiter around the set – is trying to merge into the background.

“Don’t say anything,” Clunes whispers. “She’s not doing any harm.”

Later, as we sit in the pews together, he explains his tolerance of rubber-neckers. “As long as they don’t get in the way of filming, it’s not a problem. And without the fans, where would we be?”

Doc Martin appears to attract an extreme kind of fan, and the fishing village of Port Isaac (doubling for the fictitious Portwenn) where the show is mostly filmed, is running alive with them. They applaud when Clunes arrives, and shop for syringe-shaped pens and mugs decorated with a shot of the grumpy medic at a Doc Martin store.

“People come from all over the place – Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America. I think it’s wonderful that they have such a strong reaction to the show.”


If you’re not one of the eight million British viewers who have tuned in to the five series that have run since 2003, Doc Martin features an unlikely hero, Dr Martin Ellingham, a curmudgeonly medic with a blood phobia and zero bedside manner. With its Cornish backdrop, gently ironic English humour, and a stellar cast of thesps that includes Dame Eileen Atkins, it represents a British idyll that, like Downton Abbey, the rest of the world embraces: 208 countries – including, most recently, Iran – have either bought rights to the original show or are making their own versions.

“Presumably none of the female characters in the Iranian Doc Martin will be allowed to speak, or drive, or go to school or work,” chuckles Clunes, 51.


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