A long-running British television series that is currently filming its eighth series on the beautiful Cornish coast, Doc Martin looks set to have a second surprise appearance by a Hollywood A-list actress when it returns to our screens later this year.
Signourney Weaver, better known for her role as tough, leather-clad alien-hunter Ripley in the 'Alien' films, stunned viewers in 2015 when she appeared as a guest star in the gentle medical comedy starring Martin Clunes as the doctor.
She played belligerent American tourist, Beth Traywick, who was visiting the fictional Cornish seaside hamlet of Portwenn in the episode two years ago. However, no-one was aware that Weaver was involved in the latest episodes until she was spotted on the set, exchanging her usual Alien space-suit for a conservative outfit of jeans, denim shirt, yellow coat and bucket hat. Judging by the camera slung around her neck, it appears she's playing a tourist again!
Last year, Clunes spoke of his hopes of attracting the superstar actress back to Portwenn but said it depended on her schedule, although he said at the time - perhaps joking - that she wanted to return so she could fight him in a pub scene!
Since its first broadcast in 2004, Doc Martin has been a massive hit, with Clunes basing his character on Dr Martin Bamford - a role which he played in the 2000 film, Saving Grace. The seventh series of Doc Martin finished in November 2015 after a hugely successful run, spanning 11 years.
Doc Martin - so called by the locals - is Dr Martin Ellingham in the series. His surname was changed to Ellingham as an anagram of the writer Dominic Minghella's last name. Minghella was brought in to create the cast of supporting characters and also the doctor's background story.
Filming for the forthcoming series is taking place in the Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac - where all the previous Doc Martins have been filmed. Clunes plays a GP in sleepy Portwenn, where he is known as a rather bad-tempered "townie" who feels out of place in the country. A top vascular surgeon at Imperial College London, he develops a phobia of blood - known as haemophobia - and is forced to stop practising surgery. He decides to move to the quiet seaside village to become the sole GP.
During the series, the doctor falls for school teacher Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz) but they split up on the day of their wedding and she flees to London. She returns six months later, pregnant with Ellingham's child and they eventually marry but the doctor seems incapable of maintaining a relationship and they become estranged - so he decides to see a therapist to analyse his emotional problems.
The main action of the show revolves around his interactions with the villagers. In spite of his medical expertise, he is totally lacking in social skills and manages to offend just about everyone.
Filming in a coastal resort has its own challenges. In 2015, the national press reported how increasing numbers of seagulls were becoming a problem in Port Isaac, where they had swooped down on people and attacked a postman. At the time, a spokesman for Cornwall Council said even removing nests wouldn't solve the problem, as the gulls would just build more. He suggested the birds must be discouraged.
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