Doc Martin (ITV, Wednesday) still is, and at the top of its game. So much so it would put car mechanics out of business. It also has the advantage of only appearing every two years, meaning that the lay off almost makes you forget just how good it was. It's also the only doctor's surgery anyone fancies visiting.
In the opening episode, the Doc was grumpier than ever. For him, this is an "all-life crisis". If he won the lottery, I'm sure he'd throw the ticket in the bin before sticking pins in his eyes.
Does anyone actually behave like this or are they "on the spectrum"? If it is the latter, he's off the scale, but who cares. In real life, you would simply be saying, "Wow, the Doc's hard work. How long do we have to stay?"
To cheer himself up in series eight, he's agreed for wife Louisa (Caroline Catz) to have a dog, which of course, is something else to complain about, and trip over, while banging his head on a low door. If you know a grumpier person than this, please contact a TV company about doing a documentary.
He was ably assisted by PC Penhale (John Marquez) who was told so many times that he was an idiot, I expect an immediate class libel action from the local constabulary to stand up for one of their own.
The village plod was suffering kidney stones: "How often are you passing water?" asked the Doc. He replied: "Bit personal isn't it, Doc?" This prompted the policeman to say, "I'm not an idiot". Oh, yes you are. As the episode closed, Penhale's quest for romance dissolved along with his kidney stones. He seemed more relieved about the latter. Quite right.David Stephenson, The Daily Express, 24th September 2017
Toby Earle goes for a check-up in Portwenn.Toby Earle, Evening Standard, 20th September 2017
As one of TV's most popular dramas returns to our screens, David Stephenson meets the Doc Martin cast on location in Cornwall for its penultimate series.David Stephenson, The Daily Express, 17th September 2017
In the end, though, this was a comedy that was mainly stuck in neutral. It would really need to shift up a gear or three to make me want to watch a second series.Gerard O'Donovan, The Telegraph, 23rd May 2016
I Want My Wife Back is a truly unfortunate title, in that it not only reveals a tin ear for titling of programmes but will let snarky reviewers change the W to an L. And, yes, I wouldn't mind that half-hour back.
Everyone, I imagine, likes Ben Miller (the non-smug Alexander Armstrong) but not even he, nor Caroline Catz, could quite save this derivative sitcom, not while the likes of Camping and Fresh Meat exist. A love-rat boss? A surprise party gone wrong... surprised? A pleasant middle-class English chap caught out lying by an insistent pedant, his lies getting more outre and unmanageable by the minute? Well, I laughed until I stopped, which was frightfully quickly.Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 24th April 2016
Unfortunately for the channel, I Want My Wife Back is one of the worst sitcoms I've seen in a very long time and I wouldn't be surprised if it ended its run in a less prominent timeslot. The series follows the exploits of Murray (Ben Miller) a banker whose promotion at work means that he's never at home to be by the side of his wife Bex (Caroline Catz). I then didn't blame her one iota when she decided to leave him on her fortieth birthday after he'd blown off yet another date in favour of work. However this is a sitcom in which Murray is meant to be the sympathetic romantic and so writers and creators Mark Bussell and Justin Sbrensi try their best to make us root for him as he runs round trying to find out if Bex has left him. I Want My Wife Back feels like it was based on a singular idea about what would happen if a man discovered his significant other was leaving him on the day he was planning a surprise birthday for her. But basing a series around one single event isn't a good idea and especially in the case of this sitcom where the central gag runs out of steam pretty quickly. As the majority of the focus is on Murray and Bex, the rest of the characters are simply thinly-drawn stereotypes who don't feel realistic at all. A case in point is Emma (Susannah Fielding), a co-worker of Murray who is clearly in love with him even though she could do a lot better. Similarly the main gag involving Murray's boss Curtis (Stewart Wright) is that he's having an affair and often gets our hero to lie for him so he can continue his philandering ways. Every joke in I Want My Wife Back failed to hit the spot including the episode's big set piece in which Murray has his ear bitten off while looking for Bex at the hospital in which she works. The conclusion of the first episode, in which Murray and Bex are whisked off to spend a holiday in Turkey together, was as an unfunny as what had gone before and after spending half an hour with these characters I had no desire to continue. I do feel it's a shame that the comedies that seem to get the most amount promotion tend to be disappointingly unfunny whilst the real gems such as Detectorists and Fresh Meat get hidden away. I do think that we can do comedy well in this country when given the chance but I Want My Wife Back was cringe-inducing from beginning to end and featured both a miscast leading man and a complete lack of anything even resembling a joke.Matt, The Custard TV, 23rd April 2016