Sunday, September 8, 2013

Martin Clunes is raking in a fortune from overseas Doc Martin operations (and here are a few other Doc Martins)

Martin Clunes and his wife Philippa

By Susie Boniface
8 September, 2013

A GENTLE TV tale of a grumpy ­village doctor is making ­millions for Doc Martin star Martin Clunes, the Sunday People can reveal.

The main character’s decent but slightly dopey image belies the fact that Clunes himself is clearly a sharp businessman.

Fans here are delighted the Doc’s ­adventures in the fictional Cornish village of Portwenn are back with a sixth series. Yet few realise the show is not a quiet telly ­backwater – but a global phenomenon.

It has been sold to more than 70 ­countries. Seven of the biggest are France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Greece, Poland and Russia, where they are all busy ­filming local versions with their own Doc, Doktor or Docteur.

Add to that the inevitable DVD and other box sets, pens, mugs and fridge ­magnets sold around Port Isaac, where the series is shot, and the massive scale of the worldwide Doc Martin industry becomes clear.

All this has made multi-millionaires of Clunes and his TV producer wife Philippa Braithwaite – owners of the production company that makes the programme.

But although the foreigners follow the Clunes version closely, there are a range of “cultural” differences.

For instance the Greek series features rather more pretty girls in bikinis than Doc Martin would encounter in Portwenn.

The Spanish version has been given a theme tune in a soft-rock style.

And of course none of the doctors has quite the same spectacular ears as Clunes.

He said: “I’ve seen little bits of them. The Spanish one is quite smart. The French show has sort of overtaken us – but they’re not allowed to have another child or do anything radical that we haven’t done. They have to have the same plots.

“The Germans were the first to do it and they bought our music as well. They sort of did it shot for shot.

“In this country Doc Martin is seen as a very middle-of-the-road mainstream programme, although there are other things in there if you’re looking.

“But people abroad see this very strange little morsel from another country. It’s exotic.”


TITLE: Doc Martin.

THE DOC: Dr Martin Le Foll winds up in the ­fictional Breton town of Port Garrec, twinned with Portwenn. He looks a bit like Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

HIS GIRLFRIEND: Blonde Julie Derville, who despite having the looks of an international supermodel is in fact a ­village school teacher.

THE EXTRAS: Aunt Jeanne, policeman Mario who jumps out wearing a balaclava, and, yes, an obsessed pharmacist in a neck brace who Doc has no idea is secretly in love with him.

TYPICAL SCENE: Docteur Martin enters ­pharmacy and wonders if any of his patients are Seine.

Female pharmacist: Ooh la la, Docteur! You are so ‘andsome, I zink.


TITLE: Doktor Martin.

THE DOC: Dr Martin Helling, a ­vascular surgeon from Berlin who… fear of blood... quaint fishing village… you get the drift. It even has the same theme tune as the UK original. He is a bit of a sauerkraut.

HIS GIRLFRIEND: Blonde teacher Thea. Strangely, she doesn’t seem to mind when female patients unbutton their blouses and the Doktor asks them: “What are those?”

THE EXTRAS: Fat plumber Gert, who wears a dirty woollen hat. A dim policeman, a lazy receptionist, and the doc’s Aunt Alma.

At one point the doc tries to trick a dog into jumping over a cliff, then kicks it in a rage. Wouldn’t happen in Portwenn.


TITLE: Kliniki Periptosi (Clinical Cases).

THE DOC: Markos Staikos is a surgeon from New York who…yep, you got it, moves to a quaint Greek fishing village.

HIS GIRLFRIEND: Pretty brunette Andrianna, who he leers at as she wades out of the sea in a bikini, Ursula Andress-style. He’s 30 years older if a day.

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