Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Cornwall Escape

One of these days, I'm going to get to Cornwall. I've had a fascination with it since, I think, I first read The Shellseekers by Rosamunde Pilcher years ago. And I love watching British tv series. So imagine my delight when I discovered "Doc Martin," a BBC television series set in Cornwall in the charming fictional village of Portwenn.

The premise is that Dr. Martin Ellingham, a surgeon from London, has recently developed a revulsion to blood and can no longer do surgery. He retreats to his childhood village to be the general village doctor, where his daily life is populated by quirky people and curious medical mysteries. Interestingly, the brusque nature and social ineptitude of Doc Martin is obviously Asperger's Syndrome. But even while his dreadful bedside manner is a key aspect of the show, the story is not about a doctor with Asperger's -- it's an unfolding story of a withdrawn individual who slowly comes to life and becomes a vital member of a small community.

The first four seasons are available on Netflix via live-streaming. (it looks like some are available on Hulu.com, too.) I was sad to realize that last night I watched the last episode of the show. But today, thanks to IMDB, I discovered that the series has recently resumed after a two year break, taking off where the last 2009 episode left off, and there are some 6 episodes that have aired on British tv so far. I'm not sure when Netflix will have them, but I will look forward to returning to Portwenn in the future!


  1. You need to pack your bags and get yourself to Cornwall. I have a daughter in England and I get to visit her every 2 or 3 years. She and her husband take me to Cornwall for a week of my vacation. It is a magical place.

    Audrey - Ontario Canada

  2. Doc Martin is filmed [exteriors] in the village of Port Isaac. We visited there last summer, with no clue about the TV series. Lots of residents wanted to tell us just which house was the doctor's "surgery". There is a little hotel just opposite the ramp that goes down to the harbor.
    One night there was a concert on the stone wharf by "The Friends of the Fishermen", a male chorus that only sings shanties. They have a couple CDs that are popular.
    The Cornish Coastal Path runs right through the village. We enjoyed our time there!

  3. I am totally hooked on Doc Martin. Interesting that you identified Martin as Aspergers as that is exactly what I thought as well. I replayed all the episodes on Hulu while I was working on the felt panels for the 12 x 12 quilts, even though I have seen every episode.

  4. We're now on our fifth series of Doc Martin which is screened here on Monday evenings. As with all these programmes, it's reaching the point where it's beginning to be a bit tired looking, but Cornwall always looks lovely!

    If you're planning a visit the best times to go are May, June or September. Avoid August which is usually quite wet and is in the school holidays.

    I should be back in Helston by then, so if you're passing, do call in!

  5. My husband and I are addicted to Doc Martin. I keep hoping his appalling lack of sensitivity will become somewhat tempered and every now and then there is a glimmer of hope in his actions and words.

  6. I won't give away any spoilers as we have seen a couple of episodes here. The BBC can't take credit for this one though, which is a shame because it means lots of Ad breaks which we don't get on the BBC.