Episode 4.1 - Better The Devil

Since Martin and Louisa both got cold feet on their wedding day, Louisa has left, and Martin has been finding life in Portwenn infuriating.

In-Depth Episode Synopsis

Warning: the below synopsis may contain spoilers

Life in the beautiful Cornish village of Portwenn has become ever more infuriating for Martin since the heart-wrenching decision to call off his marriage to local headmistress Louisa.

Louisa has left the village, and Martin has begun to question what is keeping him in Cornwall for it's certainly not his relentlessly annoying patients and it's certainly not the amorous advances of the infatuated local chemist, Mrs Tishell. Martin has realised that if he is ever to escape, he must conquer his worst fear: the blood phobia that ended his surgical career.

Martin's Aunt Joan suggests that her friend Barbara might be able to help with Martin's blood phobia, but it turns out Barbara is a specialist in a very different field. When Barbara is involved in a bicycle accident with Clive Tishell, Mrs Tishell's little-missed husband who has been sent home from his oil-rig job after going deaf, Martin is injured too.

Martin accompanies Barbara to hospital, and is stunned to meet Edith, his old girlfriend from medical school days. She is now a top-ranking doctor with a flourishing private practice. She is surprised and disappointed at how low Martin has fallen. Later, Edith books Barbara in for an operation, but when Martin discovers Edith did not perform a preliminary test that might rule out the need for surgery, he hurries to the hospital and takes matters into his own hands.

Mrs Tishell tries to cure her husband's problems on her own, but when her efforts go disastrously wrong, Martin is able to find the surprising cause of Clive's hearing loss.

Meanwhile, Martin's scatterbrained receptionist Pauline is struggling to cope with the effects of insomnia brought on by her brother Adam's snoring. Pauline's on-off boyfriend Al Large sees an opportunity, and asks her to move in with him. Meanwhile, Al's jovial father - Bert Large, is also looking for love but does this include sex?

Also, Martin learns there is a prestigious surgeon's job coming free in London that is perfect for him if he can overcome his haemophobia. All Martin's thoughts of the future are thrown aside when Louisa returns without warning - with big news of her own.

First Broadcast Details

Sun 20th September 2009
8.3 million viewers
60 minutes

Main Repeats

  • Sat 8th Mar 2014 (8:00pm, ITV3)
  • Sat 24th Jan 2015 (3:05pm, ITV)
  • Sat 28th Mar 2015 (7:00pm, ITV3)
  • Mon 16th Nov 2015 (8:00pm, ITV3)

Episode 4.1 Cast & Crew

Regular Cast
Martin Clunes ... Dr Martin Ellingham
Caroline Catz ... Louisa Glasson
Ian McNeice ... Bert Large
Joe Absolom ... Al Large
Selina Cadell ... Mrs Tishell
John Marquez ... PC Penhale
Stephanie Cole ... Joan Norton
Katherine Parkinson ... Pauline Lamb
Lia Williams ... Edith Montgomery
Guest Cast
Vincent Franklin ... Chris Parsons
David Haig ... Mr Strain (Headteacher)
Malcolm Storry
(as Malcom Storry)
... Clive Tishell
Georgie Glen ... Barbara
Angela Curran ... Caitlin
Luke Neal ... Andy
Christabel Muir ... Mother
Ruby Pender ... Little Susie (Student)
Ricky Champ ... Paramedic
Beth Scott-Hewlett ... Nurse
Kate Van Dike ... Nurse
Elanor Parrett ... Nurse
Thomas Hare ... Radiographer
Writing Team
Jack Lothian ... Writer
Robert Leedham ... Script Editor
Production Team
Ben Bolt ... Director
Philippa Braithwaite ... Producer
Mark Crowdy ... Exec Producer
Andrew Purcell ... Production Design
Colin Towns ... Composer
Nick McPhee ... Editor

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