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This extensive TV-on-DVD box set is one of the most wily and charming imports of the year....
Acorn Media / 1980 Minutes / 2004-2011 / Unrated / Street Date: May 7, 2013
Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) hates blood. I mean, he really hates the stuff. And to make a living as a successful London surgeon, you can’t really avoid the stuff. So as Doc Martin begins, we watch our gruff and miserly protagonist reject his post as a vascular surgeon, instead choosing to run for the hills. He waves buh-bye to London and heads to the small town of Portwenn, where he sets up shop as a GP and hopes that life will somehow settle into a halcyon pattern.
This is not the case, however, and the way Martin rubs villagers the wrong way is part of why this surprisingly funny series plays so strongly on this TV-on-DVD set. This is not just another British melodrama – the Ellingham character first appeared in the move Saving Grace, and on Doc Martin, he is a very rare beast indeed: he’s the prototypical adorable asshole. There’s no question that he’s perhaps the biggest jerk in the UK, but aside from his increasingly crippling haemophobia, he’s literally a life-saving practitioner of medicine.
Doc Martin: Series 1-5 + The Moviesis maybe more rough around the edges than other recent Acorn fare, but it’s without question one of the studio’s most involving releases of the year. Yeah, yeah – a lot of the material here is just repackaged from previously-released editions, but for this writer (who’d never experienced the show), this opportunity to marathon through the series was irresistible. And word is Doc Martin got picked up for a sixth go-round. I can’t wait to see how that grumpy heel finishes out his Portwenn run….