‘Doc Martin’ offers scheming & romance for Season 8

(from left) Val Zavala, of KCET’s SoCal Connected, with Doc Martin’s Ian McNeice, & Maria Hall-Brown, PBS SoCal’s executive producer for arts and culture programming, at PBS SoCal & KCET reception for Doc Martin, Season 8 at The London Hotel in West Hollywood, Jan. 10, 2019. Photo: KCET

For the top-rated Doc Martin, PBS SoCal and KCET joined forces as an impressive PBS flagship to launch the premiere of Season 8. To celebrate the occasion, PBS SoCal and KCET had a reception hosted by the new Public Media Group of Southern California’s board of directors. KCET’s acclaimed journalist Val Zavala filled in for Andrew Russell, president and CEO. It was appropriate for the great British production to take place at The London West Hollywood Hotel on January 10, 2019.

Martin Clunes stars as Doc Martin, and Ian McNeice plays Bert Large (Photo: ITV)

Doc Martin star Ian McNeice was a special guest, delighting everyone with his charm and stories about the beloved show which follows a curmudgeonly doctor and the quirky characters who inhabit an English seaside village.

Doc Martin stars Martin Clunes

It is KCET’s highest rated series and the grumpy Dr. Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) has returned to confront life with his wife Louisa (Caroline Catz) and their baby. The eighth season will offer plenty of mystery, scheming and romance in the idyllic village of Portwenn.

Ian McNeice as the affable Bert Large is one of the great characters that makes the show a success. He said, “Bert is a lovable rogue. He gets into all sorts of scrapes and will do anything for anybody if there’s a buck in it. He also has a tender side. He was the one to welcome Louisa back to the village. And Bert’s relationship with his son Al (the pub owner played by Joe Absolom) is very important. I always tell my children Joe is the son I always wanted. From day one we just clicked with the chemistry and you can tell that in our scenes.”

McNeice revealed that he’s also grown very fond of Dame Eileen Atkins as the Doc’s formidable Aunt Ruth, even thought Dame Eileen tried to usurp his cozy lodgings on location along the Cornwall, England, coast. “She is very sweet, but also a devious Dame,” he said lovingly.

Explaining the appeal of the show, McNeice noted, “It starts with the location. It is such a beautiful and whimsical place, the show’s village of Portwenn, which is Port Isaac in Cornwall. All of our scripts start with ‘It’s always a sunny day in Portwenn.’ And it’s true, even if it’s been raining, we have a sunny day. I think that appeals to Americans. People come from all over to see us filming in Port Isaac, with sometimes 200 people gathering around as we do our scenes. It’s like doing live theatre.”

Ian McNeice stars as Bert on Doc Martin

Doc Martin is one of the shinning stars in Acorn TV’s platform of global programming. And another reason the show is embraced around the world has to do with the endearing characters and who plays them. McNeice praised, “Martin Clunes is the consummate performer who hit pay dirt playing the Doc as grumpy and says what we may all be thinking. We have a very strong ensemble of actors and of course great scripts. All of that goes into making the show a success.”

When fans of the show have come to Port Isaac, Ian takes advantage of the show’s popularity to help give something back to the village. “Fans want me to pose for pictures so I carry a little bucket and ask them to put a pound in for charity. I’ve raised money for the sailors and Port Isaac Lifeboat Station. It is my way of giving back to the wonderful Cornish village that we all love, and that fans have discovered thanks to Doc Martin.” Tune in.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.