Earlier this year, we had the great good fortune to speak with the absolutely delightful Ian McNeice (a.k.a. Bert Large) at WhoFestDFW3. You may recall that McNeice has portrayed Winston Churchill in several episodes of Doctor Who over the years. For obvious reasons, the discussion drifted briefly to another very popular series that Ian is currently associated with, Doc Martin.
On the topic of will there be more Doc Martin or have we seen the last of Dr. Martin Ellingham, McNeice spoke of a very interesting dinner with ITV suits.
“We were all invited by ITV to a dinner to thank us for the ratings we had in October and November for series 7. They were the best we have had so far with seven million viewers – on par with Downton Abbey and everybody was thrilled about that. Everybody in the cast was there.
Until that moment, however, both Ian and series star, Martin Clunes, had feared that series 7 would be the last. “At the end of the series we had a wrap party with the best drinks and food ever and we were thinking ‘is this goodbye’?, said McNeice. “We had a cast and crew photograph and we had never had that before. We were getting a little nervous. Then the Head of ITV gets up and says ‘We love Doc Martin and as a vote of confidence we would like to give you one more show’.
Up until this point, however, no official word had publicly come directly from either ITV (who does pay the bills, after all) or Buffalo Pictures, producers of Doc Martin. Until now, that is.
On Friday, Buffalo Pictures producers Philippa Braithwaite and Mark Crowdy shared specifics about the upcoming production schedule in a statement to American Public Television. APT is the American distributor of Doc Martin from whom public television stations acquire the broadcast rights to air locally.
“We are very excited to be able to confirm that we will be making two more seasons of Doc Martin”, said Doc Martin producers. “Season 8 will shoot and be broadcast in 2017 [in the UK], then we’ll be taking our usual year off to plan, write and tune the scripts. Season 9 will shoot and be broadcast in 2019 [in the UK] and air around the world in 2020. It’s then our intention to bring the series to an end.”
“We’ve had the most incredible time making this show that we love and care deeply for, and feel very privileged. We’d like to thank our audience around the world for coming on this great journey with us and really hope you enjoy these next two seasons and think they’re the best yet – it’s certainly what we’re aiming for!”
For those getting out their Doc Martin Countdown Calendar, season 8 will begin to reach public television audiences in the U.S. at the end of 2017 or early 2018 while season 9 is anticipated for release at the end of 2019 to early 2020.
It’s never too early to set your DVR’s. And, it’s never too early to plan at trip to WhoFestDFW4 which will be May 5-7, 2017 at the Westin DFW Airport Hotel.