Martin Clunes enjoys the challenge that Dr. Martin Ellingham brings to him in the series “Doc Martin.”
In fact, he’s enjoying the journey.
“I really love him,” he says in a recent interview from England. “What I love about the character is that there isn’t a pre-existing text or strict parameters. We don’t want to change him. At the same time, it’s good fun to throw him around.”
“Doc Martin” follows Ellingham, who is a general practitioner with a brusque bedside manner and a phobia of blood.
The eighth season begins airing in the United States on Thursday, Jan. 3, on New Mexico PBS.
The series is produced by Buffalo Pictures, and set in the idyllic hamlet of Portwenn in Cornwall.
Caroline Catz plays Doc Martin’s wife and local school headmistress, Louisa Ellingham.
After having therapy to save their marriage in the last season, they face the challenge of living happily together with their baby, James Henry.
“The Doc is as obstinate as ever, but he is trying his best to be a better husband and father,” Clunes says. “In England, we all secretly want a bossy man in a suit to fix everything while hating him at the same time.”
The new season also finds Ellingham in a predicament.
“He’s in quite a stick, as there is an accusation of malpractice,” Clunes says. “It needs to be dealt with.”
Clunes is also excited to have Sigourney Weaver back as a guest star.
“Sigourney is back, and her character is infatuated with mine,” he laughs.
“Doc Martin” is taken from the movie “Saving Grace.”
Clunes played a doctor in the film called Martin, and the film did better in the United States.
“The character of the doctor tested well, and they did two TV movies,” he says. “I leapt at the chance to jump in again as Martin for the show. Sky Pictures picked up the franchise, and we took it to TV in England, and it’s become quite a hit in the States.”
In nearly 10 years of playing Ellingham, Clunes says, the character has grown on him.
“I’m thrilled to be playing him and that people really like him,” he says. “This character has made an impact on so many people’s lives. It’s amazing to hear the stories of how they have been touched. The doc has compassion and the mind for medicine.”