Locals from Port Isaac, Cornwall, celebrate end of ITV's Doc Martin
4th September 2022

Locals who live in Cornish fishing village where ITV’s Doc Martin is set are celebrating the end of show after property prices soared and it became overrun by tourists and second homes

  • ITV’s popular Doc Martin show is coming to an end after more than 18 years
  • The popular drama was filmed in a small village in Cornwall called Port Isaac
  • Residents are happy to see the show end after it became filled with tourists 

People from a tiny Cornish village are celebrating after ITV announced it would be scrapping a much-loved TV show – Doc Martin.

The drama about a GP in Cornwall, starring Martin Clunes, 62, is coming to an end after 18 years.

The TV show explores the life of GP Martin Ellingham, who began working as a doctor in the fictional Cornish seaside village of Portwenn after his aversion to blood ended his career as a London surgeon.

Those living in the real village of Port Isaac, where the show is filmed, however, are pleased to see the back of the programme, hoping it will bring quieter streets and less traffic.

ITV’s Doc Martin will be ending after more than 18 years. The popular show was filmed in the Cornish village of Port Isaac. While many are disappointed to see the programme leaving the screens, locals in Cornwall are glad to see the back of it

After filming the final episode in July, Clunes (right) said that he would miss ‘the people of Cornwall, and Port Isaac in particular’ who were ‘always so helpful’ when the crew was making the series

Since the series began in 2004, the show has amassed an average audience of eight million and has been broadcasted in 18 countries leading to hundreds of tourists to the village each week.

The village, whose house prices have quadrupled over the last 20 years, is so crowded throughout the summer months that some locals even avoid travelling to its centre.

‘We’ve met people from all over the world,’ John Trayhurn, a retired teacher, told The Times.

‘They start at 9.15am and we get our first coachload at 9.45am.’

Despite greeting dozens of tourists outside of his home each day, even providing water bowls for thirsty dogs traipsing around the village, Mr Trayhurn avidly avoids the centre of Port Issac in the warmer summer months.

He added: ‘I haven’t been down since March. I stay up the top, and drive inland to go for a walk.’

Port Isaac’s house prices have quadrupled over the last 20 years and is so crowded throughout the summer months that some locals even avoid travelling to its centre

Businesses in the area have also had to adjust to how they operate because of the sheer number of tourists.

One fishmonger told The Times he now offers free delivery to his customers to save them from having to drive into crowded parts of the village but also to save on expensive parking.

The popular sea-shanty group, Fisherman’s Friends, who began busking in the harbour in Port Isaac back in 1991 had to put a stop to their shows in 2019 as thousands of people were turning up to see them.

The singing group, who have been in two feature films, wrote on their webpage: ‘It was no longer safe or considerate for the residents of Port Isaac to have over 4,000 people turn up to hear us sing.

‘So it’s with a heavy heart that we have had to stop.’

The popular sea-shanty group, Fisherman’s Friends (pictured), who began busking in the harbour in Port Isaac back in 1991 had to put a stop to their shows in 2019 as thousands of people were turning up to see them

One of the group’s singers, Jeremy Brown, said while he welcomes tourists to the Cornish village, he does not want coach loads of people turning up.

He told The Times: ‘We get 70 people marching down, swarming up to the ‘surgery’,’ he says. ‘They take a photo and march back up again.

‘That’s not good for business.’

Since the series began in 2004, the show has amassed an average audience of eight million and has been broadcasted in 18 countries leading to hundreds of tourists to the village each week

Tourism is now the main industry operating in Port Isaac with only two fishing boats left, as many locals were pushed out of the popular spot by soaring house prices.

The village is now full of more than Airbnb’s despite the population being as small as 721. Over the last year properties in Port Isaac had an overall average price of £794,038 according to the online real estate portal Rightmove.

Earlier this year, the iconic cottage featured as Doc Martin’s home and GP surgery went on the market for £1.25 million.

The Grade II listed building, called ‘Fern Cottage’, overlooks the village’s harbour and was used as a holiday let for more than £200 a night when it was not being used for filming.

The TV show explores the life of GP Martin Ellingham, who began working as a doctor in the fictional Cornish seaside village of Portwenn after his aversion to blood ended his career as a London surgeon

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Clunes said that while the show could easily keep going as a result of its soaring ratings, he does not think it would be as good.

He said: ‘It’d be great to carry on but I don’t think we could keep it as good.

‘It’s tempting to keep going because it’s a fantastic job, but we want to keep the quality high.

‘At the end of series nine we thought we had one more series left in us just to keep it fresh. Ten seemed the right time to end it, and we were fortunate enough to be offered a Christmas special too, so that allows us to complete the series in a really nice way.’

Upon filming the final episodes in July, Clunes said that he would miss ‘the people of Cornwall, and Port Isaac in particular’ who were ‘always so helpful’ when the crew was making the series.

When announcing news of the show’s end in late 2020, Martin and producer Philippa Braithwaite explained that they decided to end Doc Martin now to allow fans a chance to celebrate the show and its titular character with a final series.

The final series of Doc Martin starts at 9pm on Wednesday on ITV.

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