Archive for category Doc Martin

TV Review: ‘Doc Martin’ Entertains with Dinner and Dr. Ruth

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

In this evening’s episode, Dr. Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) and Louisa (Caroline Katz) clash over a nanny dilemma; Martin keeps scaring new nannies away. The latest babysitter, Mel, has a curious itch, which turns out to be a fungal infection. Because Louisa is back at school, Martin is left with the baby as he continues to run the surgery. As a result, Doc has to discuss symptoms in a whisper with a patient. In the end, Martin and Louisa resort to the assistance of Mike the electrician (Felix Scott), who may have obsessive compulsive disorder. By the way, does Mike Pruddy remind anyone of PC Mark Mylow?

Meanwhile, Aunt Ruth (Eileen Atkins) goes on “Good Morning, Portwenn” to discuss her new book. However, any hope for intelligent conversation dissipates when Ruth realizes that no one has read the book. Caroline Bosman, the host of GMP, prefers to focus on the sensational aspects of psychology and psychiatry. “Does it really work?” she asks to Ruth’s chagrin. To top it off, PC Penhale (John Marquez) dials in as “Cliff” to ask for advice on why he can’t make friends.

Louisa wants Martin to come to the school recital, though no one expects the curmudgeonly doctor to attend. She also insists that he be more sociable with people. He then invites Dennis Dodds (Richard Cordery), an absolute boor and a promiment committee chair, over for dinner. The dinner is awkward because Martin disapproves of the alcohol consumption by Dennis and his companion, Karen (Katie Lyons). However, it is Louisa who turns the night into an utter fiasco when she vents her real thoughts about Dennis in James Henry’s room, unaware of the baby monitor.

The medical mystery revolves around Dennis, who is renown for his high alcohol intake. His balance and speech are also strange. He falls off the roof of his new house while Louisa is trying to smooth things out from the dinner. The diagnosis of the week is Parkinson’s Disease.

“Doc Martin” would not be complete without the schemes of Bert Large (Ian McNeice), who rents out Al’s room to rake in more money. Eventually, Al (Joe Absolom) decides to inquire with Morwenna (Jessica Ransom) about an available spot at her house to escape his father’s snoring. Will future episodes try to feature Morwenna and Al as merely friends or will they become a couple?

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” was a remarkable improvement this week, taking time to allow the scenes and chemistry between characters to develop. There is a clear difference in Louisa’s desire to be sociable versus Martin’s penchant for silence at events. “What’s the point of talking if you have nothing to talk about?” he asks her. At the end, a potentially romantic moment between the two is ruined by Martin when he diagnoses Louisa’s dandruff: a harkening back to the bad breath diagnosis of season one. It bodes well for the series if the same humor, creativity, and realistic flair carry over to future installments.

“Doc Martin” airs on PBS. Check your local station for specific times.

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TV Review: Season 6 of ‘Doc Martin’ Opens in ‘Sickness’ Rather Than ‘Health’

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

Last night, Martin Clunes returned for season six of “Doc Martin” on PBS. The season opener is entitled “Sickness and Health”, centering on the long-awaited wedding and surprise honeymoon of Martin Ellingham and Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz). Fans of the show may have been astonished to find a leaner Clunes. He attributed the loss of 14 pounds to a virus, which resulted in alterations to his wardrobe at ITV.

In spite of the weight loss, Doc is still the same curmudgeonly GP of Portwenn, hardly at ease in the crowded church and reception. Louisa is late to the ceremony, P.C. Joe Penhale (John Marquez) is determined to serve as best man, and baby James Henry objects to the wedding. Villagers turn out en masse for the free food and the chance to consult Martin about medical ailments. Martin and Louisa manage to slip away but they are caught off guard by Bert Large’s (Ian McNeice) “gift”: to be whisked off for an evening at a romantic lodge in the middle of nowhere.

As one might expect, nothing is ever picture perfect for Martin and Louisa. A small fire goes awry at the lodge, rendering it an unsuitable dwelling place for the night. Still clad in their wedding attire, the newlyweds set off in search of a phone. Instead, they encounter their new gun-toting neighbor, Bellamy (David Sterne). The strange and rude fellow suffers a serious injury when the roof comes down on his dilapidated front porch. Martin sutures up the wound with Louisa as his assistant before they can move Bellamy to the road to find assistance.

The other important patient of the evening is little James Henry, under the care of Aunt Ruth (Eileen Atkins). It takes the expertise of Mike Pruddy (Felix Scott), a charming electrician, to reveal that vanilla extract will take care of the baby’s teething.

While fans may be pleased to see that Martin and Louisa are finally married, the first episode is a departure from the creative and fresh quirkiness that has defined the show. More emphasis is on action and a repeat of previous gags, which do elicit some laughs. In addition, James Henry’s problem is predictable and lacks the air of mystery or oddity that has characterized medical puzzles in earlier episodes. Let’s hope that “Doc Martin” will be back to top form next Saturday.

New episodes of “Doc Martin” will air for eight weeks on PBS. Please check your local station for specific dates and times.

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