Martin Clunes: ‘There’d be no Doc Martin with­out my wife’

As ever-pop­u­lar ITV com­edy drama Doc Martin re­turns to our screens, star Martin Clunes re­veals he owes so much to his wife, Philippa Braith­waite

YOURS (UK) - - News - By Ali­son James

He’s a self­ef­fac­ing sort is Martin Clunes. Many ac­tors can’t help but ‘big’ them­selves up but not Martin. When, for in­stance, we con­grat­u­late him on the eighth se­ries of Doc Martin – with a ninth al­ready com­mis­sioned – he im­me­di­ately ‘bigs’ up Philippa Braith­waite, his wife of 20 years, who pro­duces the show. “No­body works harder than Philippa,” he beams as we chat on the pur­pose-built set of the Doc’s surgery in Corn­wall. “She goes on such a jour­ney with every se­ries to get eight episodes out. There are al­ways six or seven drafts of every episode to work through – which means that there are get­ting on for 60 scripts in to­tal. It’s a mas­sive amount of work to make sure the fi­nal shoot­ing scripts are var­ied yet the same yet still sur­pris­ing – we don’t want to re­peat our­selves. I can’t stress enough how much pres­sure

it is on her to get eight hours out. I don’t have much in­put – she only lets me read the scripts re­ally late on!” Liv­ing and work­ing to­gether doesn’t work for some cou­ples but Martin (55) and Philippa couldn’t be hap­pier. “It’s the way it’s al­ways been for us and it’s fine,” he ex­plains. “The sub­ject of Doc Martin does crop up at home at times but we do very dif­fer­ent things on the show and we’re also part­ners in so many other things. There’s par­ent­ing our 17-year-old daugh­ter Emily, farm­ing, horses, dogs... There’s so much else that goes on between us to talk about.” Doc Martin is made every other year and it’s ru­moured that the se­ries af­ter this, go­ing out in 2019, will be the last. Surely not! “It might,” Martin con­firms. “That’s the last com­mis­sion we’ve got and we are sort of work­ing to­wards that be­ing the end of it be­cause it ought to end at some point. It’ll be time when it feels nice and nat­u­ral. Then again, never say never. If peo­ple still like it and we think we can do it, let’s see. I’ll never get a bet­ter job; I love play­ing the grumpy Doc and be­ing here and I like all the peo­ple. There are very few new peo­ple on our crew, we’ve all got kids who we’ve watched grow­ing up over the years. Emily was a lit­tle girl when we started and this sum­mer, she drove her­self down here. There’s a kind of love af­fair among the whole cast and crew. We’re so tight and fond of each other – it’s ab­so­lutely lovely.” What’s new for the Doc in this se­ries then? “He and on/off wife Louisa are to­gether,” Martin re­veals. “We sim­ply couldn’t pos­si­bly do the ‘will-they/ won’t-they?’ thing any longer. So, they are liv­ing to­gether and ex­plor­ing them co-habit­ing has been as much fun as any­thing else. The Doc’s re­demp­tion is how much he loves Louisa but she is think­ing about be­com­ing a child psy­chol­o­gist and, al­though he’s sup­port­ive he’s also slightly dis­mis­sive – not to men­tion old­fash­ioned, bit­ter and twisted! He’s kind of, ‘Let’s give her enough rope and see if she hangs her­self’! He’s also more of a dis­ci­plinar­ian with their

young son, James.” Dog-lover Martin couldn’t hap­pier about one of his new co-stars for this se­ries – a res­cue ter­rier cross called Paddy. “Philippa met Paddy two years ago and wanted to write a sto­ry­line for him,” he smiles. “In the mean­time, he went and got him­self a job on Mid­som­mer Mur­ders, but Philippa was still de­ter­mined to get him in. The writ­ers were think­ing they had to write some­thing for him to do but ac­tu­ally all he needs to do is turn up. He gets on well with Buddy, Mrs Tishell’s dog, and it’s been great fun to play Doc Martin hav­ing to live with a dog. He can’t stand them but they love him!” Other mem­o­rable co-stars this se­ries in­clude Martin’s old Men Be­hav­ing Badly girl­friend Caro­line Quentin – or ‘Quenty’ as he af­fec­tion­ately calls her – and Hol­ly­wood lead­ing lady Sigour­ney Weaver, who is repris­ing her role as bel­liger­ent Amer­i­can tourist, Beth Tray­wick. “Sigour­ney ap­peared in the last se­ries and we didn’t dare hope that she might want to come back,” Martin goes on. “But we found out through ac­tress Selina Cadell, who plays Mrs Tishell and who is a very old friend of Sigour­ney’s, that she was re­ally keen to do Doc Martin again. She’s so sweet. We sent her the script while she was on the set of the film Avatar 2 and she came back within just a few hours to say she loved ev­ery­thing.” Never mind Hol­ly­wood guest stars, it has been said that the real star of Doc Martin is the Cornish vil­lage of Port Isaac which dou­bles for the fic­tional Portwenn. The vil­lage has be­come fa­mous the world over, thanks to the show. “We’ve all had long enough to adapt to each other and a lot of peo­ple have prof­ited hugely and flour­ished, and new busi­nesses have grown up as a re­sult of Doc Martin,” he says. ‘The pro­duc­tion puts a lot of money into the lo­cal econ­omy and we now have a trust fund with prof­its from our over­seas sales go­ing into it that does works for the ben­e­fit of Port Isaac and com­mu­nity projects. That was an­other of Philippa’s ideas!” Doc martin starts on ItV in early septem­ber

‘I’ll never get a bet­ter job; I love play­ing the grumpy Doc and be­ing here and I like all the peo­ple’

Martin Clunes with TV pro­ducer wife, Philippa Braith­waite and above, as grumpy old Doc Martin

Fam­ily af­fair: martin with wife Philippa and daugh­ter emily. even one of his dogs gets to star in Doc martin!

the Doc with mrs tishell (selina Cadell) and Beth tray­wick (sigour­ney Weaver). Be­low: on-screen wife Lou­sia (Caro­line Catz)

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