Irritable GP retains his charm
The following might seem like an incongruous aside, given that Martin Clunes’s character here, Dr Martin Ellingham, is so famously humourless. And many others would see Clunes and recall something obvious such as which ran for six seasons and made him famous. But seeing Clunes always prompts me to think of the short-lived mockumentary series Come Fly with Me created by the Little Britain stars David Walliams and Matt Lucas. In particular it recalls their Japanese schoolgirl characters who waited around the airport terminal in the hope of meeting their idol, English actor Martin Clunes. They even sang a demented tribute to him.
It really was unforgettable; possibly a little racist, and certainly the stuff of nightmares.
Here is something Clunes might actually laugh about: audiences for Doc Martin in Australia and Britain remain truly impressive. Locally it has been reliably more than a million viewers per episode — and more than five million people view each episode in Britain.
In the season-eight premiere, the fictional Cornish town of Portwenn is abuzz with wedding preparations for Janice (Robyn Addison) and PC Penhale (John Marquez). But a medical issue — what else? — threatens to prevent the nuptials taking place.
Al (Joe Absolom) finds the role of best man rather taxing, especially with Bert (Ian McNeice) ensuring that only whisky is served at the prewedding party. Caroline Catz returns as the Doc’s wife Louisa, and guest stars this season include Sigourney Weaver.
And of course our lead character promises to remain the same, forever. “The Doc is as obstinate as ever,” Clunes said. “But he is trying his best to be a better husband and father.” Sunday, 7.40pm, ABC.
Martin Clunes says his Dr Martin Ellingham ‘is as obstinate as ever (but) trying his best to be better’