Is ITV's Doc Martin Christmas special the last ever episode and why is it ending? – Manchester Evening News

Martin Clunes returns as Cornwall’s grumpy doctor for a one-off Christmas special
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The nation’s favourite grumpy medic is back on our screens this Christmas, as ITV’s hugely successful drama Doc Martin returns for a festival episode. Following the ratings success of its tenth series in Autumn, Martin Clunes reprises the role of Dr Martin Ellingham, the hemophobic GP with a blunt bedside manner, in this one-off Christmas special.
The series ended on a high with nearly six million viewers tuning in to find out whether the Doc would accept a prestigious post in London or stay in the idyllic hamlet of Portwenn. A near fatal accident prompted the Doc to reconsider his priorities and decided that his wife and family must come first, and that they should all stay put.
The Christmas special – titled Last Christmas in Portwenn – is the final ever episode of Doc Martin, as confirmed by series director Nigel Cole back in 2020. All the regular cast members are reprising their roles for one last hurrah, with Caroline Catz returning as the Doc’s wife, Louisa Ellingham, and Dame Eileen Atkins back as his Aunt Ruth.
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In the episode – which was filmed in February – Portwenn is full of festive fun, until Doc Martin has the grotto closed down because he fears Santa has something contagious, upsetting the children, including his own son James (Elliott Blake). While awaiting the results of the tests to find out why Leonard (Santa, played by Ron Cook) is so itchy, the Doc tells him he cannot be Santa until they have the diagnosis.
At James’ disappointment, Louisa takes matters into her own hands, and with the help of the village arranges a Christmas parade, but not without its challenges. Describing what viewers can look forward to in the Christmas special, Clunes told ITV: “Snow, Christmas lights, the lovely Claire Bloom back to play the Doc’s mother, and Ron Cook as Santa.
“You can imagine the doctor isn’t too keen on Christmas for his own tortured reasons. It’s never stopped making me laugh, I don’t know why because if it was a real person who had had such an awful upbringing you’d feel nothing but pity for them, but because it is him it just makes me laugh.”
Earlier this year, Clunes appeared on ITV’s This Morning where he revealed the show was ending as it is simply “a good time to end it.” He added that writing the show’s script is hard work for his wife and the show’s producer, Philippa Braithwaite.
“Poor Philippa,” he said. “She’s worked on every single script, 84 of them, and none of them are easy.
“Because you’ve got a main protagonist who doesn’t like anybody and nobody likes him, and then go from there. It hasn’t been easy, it’s tough and we sort of don’t want to repeat ourselves, you know?”
Reflecting on Doc Martin’s final chapter – which closes a story arc that began in 2004 – Catz added: “It is really sad that it is over. It has been such a huge part of my life, and my family’s life, but it is absolutely the right moment to close the book on our story.”
The Doc Martin 2022 Christmas special airs on Christmas Day on ITV at 9.05pm.


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