‘Doc Martin’: Actor Martin Clunes on the Most Difficult Part of the Dramedy for Him

Actor Martin Clunes, OBE DL, has portrayed Dr. Martin Ellingham going on 10 seasons in the popular dramedy Doc Martin.

Filming in the scenic Cornwall region of England, the role has been according to Clunes, one of the best of his life. Yet there has been one portion of playing Doc Martin that the actor has called the most difficult for him.

'Doc Martin' star Martin Clunes takes a break from filming the drama/comedy, 2019
‘Doc Martin’ star Martin Clunes takes a break from filming the drama/comedy, 2019 | MelMedia/GC Images

‘Doc Martin’ is ending after 10 seasons

It was recently announced that the medical comedy drama series about the bad-tempered doctor in the little seaside village of Portwenn is ending after its upcoming tenth season.

In a statement, Martin Clunes and his wife Philippa Braithwaite, who is also the show’s producer said, “We have loved making nine series of Doc Martin. When we launched the series in 2004 we could never have imagined how much our loyal viewers would take to the grumpy Doc like they have. The series has avid fans both in the United Kingdom and throughout the world and we are thrilled that Doc Martin has topped the ratings every time.

“However, after 16 years, we now feel that the time has come to say goodbye to Portwenn. We will be making the tenth and final series in 2021 and we are very much looking forward to returning to Cornwall to film it.”

Clunes says the ‘Doc Martin’ cast has watched each other’s kids grow up

In 2020, the award-winning actor told the British talk program Loose Women that the drama had to end simply because it had run its course.

“All good things have to come to an end, and I’m sure there are lots of people who aren’t fans of the show who think it’s terribly repetitive anyway,” he said. “But we’re at huge pains not to repeat ourselves.

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“I just think we’ve sort of done everything. I mean, it would be so great to just sort of carry on, but I don’t think we can keep it as good. We’ve got such a lovely cast, and it’s been 16 years.”

Because the cast members have become like family, Clunes told the show, a side benefit has been that “we all sort of bump into each other’s children every two years and watch them growing up and flourishing, and just being down there [Cornwall, where the show is filmed] is heavenly.”

The hardest part of ‘Doc Martin’ for Clunes

As for what Clunes considers the part of the job that gets him down most? It’s yelling at the dogs in his scenes as the dog-hating doc. In fact, he hates it so much that the producers created a workaround for Clunes to yell at the pooches on set without frightening them.

“I find it incredible if somebody doesn’t like dogs,” he said. “I feel sorry for them. Dodger (Buddy) is such an adorable dog who seems to love his job and is just so happy. The Doc sometimes yells at him but I can’t bring myself to actually do that, so I just mouth the words and the dialogue is added later.”

The actor gushed about the talented dogs whose main role on the show is to irk Doc Martin.

“Philippa saw Paddy, who plays Bob, with the dog trainer Sonia Turner when she had just got him two years ago, and knew we had to find a role for him in this series,” he said. 

“Sonia has such a lovely way with Dodger, who plays Buddy, and Paddy. She trains them so beautifully, and so kindly, and they just love doing stuff so much.”