It's the end of an era, indeed. After almost twenty years, ten seasons of television, and consistent rumors of its demise despite its massive popularity, megahit comedy Doc Martin is finally hanging up its proverbial stethoscope this Fall.
The series stars Martin Clunes as irascible GP Martin Ellingham, who has a rude bedside manner and a fear of blood. The series follows the story of life as a doctor amongst his quirky neighbors in the small seaside town of Portwenn. The series initially premiered in 2004 and has won legions of fans worldwide with its biting humor, memorable characters, and the on-again-off-again romance between the grumpy doctor and local schoolteacher Louisa, played by Caroline Catz. (By Season 9, the two have married and had a child.) It's become an institution in the U.K. on ITV and here in America, where the series streams on Acorn TV (and generally airs on PBS stations). But, at long last, the story is set to wrap things up.
Martin stepped down as town GP at the end of last season after having his medical career scrutinized by the General Medical Council because of his blood phobia. But as Season 10 begins, he's starting to question whether he made the right decision about resigning. The Ellinghams have welcomed a baby daughter, Mary Elizabeth, a sister for four-year-old James Henry. But with Louisa pursuing her new career as a child counselor in his old surgery, the Doc is left holding the baby and indulging his hobby of repairing clocks on the kitchen table. But does he want his old job back?
U.K. network ITV has confirmed that Season 10 will kick off in early September. Streaming network Acorn TV will again be the series' exclusive U.S. streaming home, but no firm release date has yet been announced. (Just that the final season premieres "Fall 2022").
"I have loved going to Cornwall to make Doc Martin over the last 18 years, and I looked forward to coming back to this beautiful and unique part of the country this year for the tenth and final series," Clunes said in a statement. "We've been so lucky to get to come here for so many years, and the cast and crew have made lasting friendships with a lot of the people who live in Port Isaac."
It's hard to imagine saying goodbye to a series that's been part of our television lives for over two decades, but it sounds as though the series' cast feels good about where they're leaving things. And the season will reportedly also include a Christmas special, which is a first for the show.
"We have some great storylines and amazing guest actors for the new series," Clunes said. "We're going to miss the place and all the people we have made the series with, but it's a perfect time to say thank you very much, put the back cover on the book of Doc Martin, and go and try something new. Oh, and then there's a Christmas special which really is special and a great collector's item for our fans."
Alongside Clunes and Catz, most other Portwenn fan favorites will be back for the series' last hurrah, including Dame Eileen Atkins as Doc Martin's formidable Aunt Ruth, Ian McNeice as Bert Large, and Joe Absolom as Bert's son, Al. John Marquez is back as PC Joe Penhale, as is Jessica Ransom as the doctor!s receptionist Morwenna Newcross and Selina Cadell as local pharmacist and neighborhood gossip Mrs. Tishell.
Guest stars for the final season include Fay Ripley (Suspects), David Hayman (Landscapers), Ben Miller (Professor T), Lesley Nicol (Downton Abbey), Hermione Norris (Cold Feet), Kenneth Cranham (Finding Alice), and Rupert Graves (Sherlock).
All nine seasons of Doc Martin can be found on Acorn TV, as well as the series two prequel movies.