While I’ve never heard this “officially” anywhere and I’m guessing there’s a reason for this, I can’t help but watch Doc Martin and not think of Dr. Gregory House, the unconventional and extremely grumpy genius doctor on “another network”. The program has aired for some time on a number of public television stations around the country, but everyone in North Texas will now get their shot at seeing the Doc’s rather non-existent bedside manner up close beginning tonight on KERA Channel 13 with a 3-hour special airing from 7:00p-10:00p. Beginning the next Saturday, the series will air each week from 7-8pm. Another “must see TV” moment from the UK on public television in the States.
For those unfamiliar with the story, the great Martin Clunes stars as Doctor Martin Ellingham, a brilliant but somewhat socially challenged London surgeon who has had the ultimate in bad timing to have developed haemophobia (an extreme fear of blood). Not a good thing for a surgeon, I’m told. He’s hired on in the Cornish town of Portwenn as the GP. What unfolds is nothing short of what makes British comedy/drama brilliant. Excellent script, gorgeous scenery (the series is filmed in the fishing village of Port Issac in Cornwall) and, as usual, perfect ensemble casting with the likes of Caroline Catz, Stephanie Cole (Waiting for God) and Ian McNeice.
An interesting side note here that you may or may not know or remember. The series was born out of the 2000 film, Saving Grace, co-written and co-created by Craig Ferguson, the well-known genius of The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson in the U.S. Ferguson has continued to contribute to the series from the beginning.
With respect to the Doc, it’s a combined tribute to Clunes and the brilliant writing that has you have empathy for the character and genuinely like him even though he is, without question, the hardest person to like on the planet. Another attribute of British television that stands out. Just think Basil Fawlty, Hyacinth Bucket, Edmund Blackadder and you’ll understand where I’m going with this.