British Comedy Guide

Doc Martin. Image shows from L to R: Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz), Dr Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes).

Doc Martin (2004)

ITV comedy drama about village life. 62 episodes (8 series), 2004 - 2017. Stars Martin Clunes, Buffy Davis, Caroline Catz, Ian McNeice and others.

Series 4, Episode 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.

Full synopsis

Doc Martin. Image shows from L to R: Clive Tishell (Malcolm Storry), Barbara (Georgie Glen), Dr Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes). Copyright: Buffalo Pictures / Homerun Productions.

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.

Broadcast details

Sunday 20th September 2009
60 minutes


  1. Friday 9th July 2010 at 9:00pm on ITV
  2. Saturday 12th November 2011 at 8:00pm on ITV3
  3. Monday 12th November 2012 at 8:00pm on ITV3
  4. Wednesday 27th November 2013 at 8:00pm on ITV3
  5. Saturday 8th March 2014 at 8:00pm on ITV3
  6. Saturday 24th January 2015 at 3:05pm on ITV
  7. Saturday 28th March 2015 at 7:00pm on ITV3
  8. Monday 16th November 2015 at 8:00pm on ITV3
  9. Saturday 14th May 2016 at 7:00pm on ITV3
  10. Wednesday 23rd November 2016 at 8:00pm on ITV3
  11. Monday 20th March 2017 at 8:00pm on ITV3

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 Clive Tishell
Georgie Glen Barbara
Angela Curran Caitlin Morgan
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 Executive Producer
Nick McPhee Editor
Andrew Purcell Production Designer
Colin Towns Composer

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