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DVD Review

DVD cover

Doc Martin
Complete Series Eight


Starring: Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz, Ian McNeice, Joe Absolom, John Marquez, Selina Cadell and Jessica Ransom
Distributor: Acorn Media International
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 13 November 2017

Set in the idyllic, sleepy hamlet of Portwenn in Cornwall, Dr. Martin Ellingham, the town's sole GP with a brusque bedside manner and a phobia of blood, returns for eight new episodes of the ratings winning drama, as he continues to challenge the community, his wife and even their dog Buddy...

The eighth series of Doc Martin is released on a two-disc DVD set. In this series Martin and Louisa are finally on an even keel, in spite of, rather than because of their couples’ therapy and are living together again at the surgery with their son James. The village is abuzz with the excitement of the pending nuptials of Penhale and Janice, but when the groom is taken ill suddenly there’s a chance he might not make it down the aisle and on top of that there’s a mystery outbreak with guests collapsing left right and centre. Can the doc save the day? On top of the myriad of illnesses amongst the locals, there’s upheaval on the home front; when Louisa starts to consider a career change its unwelcome news to the doc, who doesn’t like change of any kind – even if it could be for the better. Finding new day care arrangements for James is also proving difficult with Martin upsetting a nursery manager and the baby’s teething is driving everyone to distraction with the lack of sleep, but a suggested cure leads to an unwelcome outcome. When the Doctor’s blood phobia, causes him to pass out during a procedure, his patient makes a formal complaint, could it mean the end of his career?

I've followed Doc Martin from the first series. It's a show I love, I really do... but, and this is a big "but", I can't help feeling that they're running out of ideas. This series just didn't work for me. The acting is the usual high standard, but I can't help feeling we've been here before. For shows like this it's important that the characters grow and mature, but they still seem to be the same as they were several years ago.

Martin and Louisa's relationship; Martin's blood phobia; his hatred of the local stray dog; his rude manner all should have evolved somewhat... but they haven't, and so the same material is being recycled. Mrs Tishell's attraction to Martin is still present... in fact nothing seems to have changed much in the last three series. Even Al is still dating the Doctor's receptionist (which is strange as he's dated ever one of them).

Some may love the familiarity of it all, but personally it just smacks of lazy writing. In addition the humour is starting to dry up too. What was funny several years ago is starting to get tired and predictable. Thankfully there is an injection of fresh blood as Caroline Quentin returns for a much larger role in this series.

For those who've never visited the small fishing village of Port Issac, where the show is filmed, it really is like walking onto a set - as everything there is exactly like it is in the series. The original hotel that was filmed in in earlier series has closed down now and so it was interesting to see that they use the exterior and interior of Camelot Castle Hotel in Tintagel (a place I stayed a few years ago).

Extras include It's Always Sunny in Portwenn (30 min, 19 sec cast and crew interviews on working and living together for nearly three months. It also looks at many other aspects of the show - most of which are repeated in the other featurettes); Martin and Louisa (8 min, 22 sec - cast and crew talk about the characters); Martin Clunes and Caroline Quentin (8 min, 14 sec on set chat with the pair who are old friends); Dame Eileen Atkins (8 min, 07 sec interview); Selina Cadell and Sigourney Weaver (8 min, 59 sec with cast and crew talking about the two characters they play. It was interesting to learn that Cadell and Weaver have been friends for years); Bert and Al (8 min, 13 sec look at their relationship); Script to Screen (8 min, 29 sec); Filming and Editing (8 min, 14 sec); Production Design and Sets (8 min, 06 sec); The Fans (7 min, 45 sec follow them as they tour the village and meet one of their heroes); Dog Martin 8 min, 23 sec look at the work of the dog trainer); and Picture Gallery (54 sec).

While I still enjoyed this series, I'm wondering whether or not they should quit now rather than return for another series.


Darren Rea

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