May 13, 2011
He's a brilliant surgeon, but has the bedside manner of a carp, the tact of a trout, the face of an eel and is as comfortable with himself as any fish out of water. Worse yet, he panics at the sight of blood - a quixotic combo that only the Brits could convert into dramatic comedic award-winning television.
Doctor Martin Ellington, (Martin Clunes), a neurotic family physician, chose to open a medical practice in Portwenn, a far-flung fishing village off the western coast of the British Isles inhabited by a coterie of English eccentrics.
Doc Martin had to abandon London and his career as an enormously successful vascular surgeon due to the onset of hemophobia (the fear of blood). He was now better suited to cutting bandages in the boonies than trimming arteries of London's aristocrats.
This show about a homely phobic doctor tackling wacky patients distinguishes itself from the plethora of primetime medical sagas populating programming on PBS and elsewhere. Character driven, the utterly-original-absolutely-believable patients that frequent Martin's waiting room are endlessly entertaining as well as universally revealing representations of Everyman.
While the writers see humor and pathos in the misanthropic Martin, we see in him the idiosyncrasies, kinks and quirks of people we know, and, admittedly, some vestigial versions of ourselves.
The DVD package contains almost 24 hours of engrossing, entertaining, endearing and smart television encompassing the four years of the show as well as filmographies of the distinguished cast, some trivia and photos. (The fifth season of eight episodes is being produced this year, 2011.)
Perhaps the upcoming DVD Extras will indulge in a promo of the quaint fishing villages that now attract families, fishermen and foreign tourists to this charming corner of England, a consequence of the popularity and publicity generated by the show.
Season Four, it should be said, is more medically inclined than the first three seasons: a warning for the hemophobically-inclined viewer.
To clarify the sometimes incomprehensible King's English, there are, thank-you very much, subtitles.
Studio: Acorn Media
Cast: Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz, Ian McNeice, Joe Absolom,
Stephanie Cole, Tristan Sturrock, Stewart Wright, Katherine Parkinson
Length: 30 Episodes on 9 discs, approx. 24 hours
Rated: Not Rated
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1