There are some actors that we've welcomed into our living rooms, courtesy of the British shows, so often it's hard not to be concerned about them when they appear to be looking a little peaky. So when an MPT viewer recently enquired about the health of Doc Martin's Martin Clunes because he seemed to have lost a lot of weight, I quickly took on the task to find out what was "up".
Sure enough at the start of filming series six, our favorite doctor had contracted a viral infection which resulted in him losing over 30 pounds. It also left him feeling completely exhausted and for the first time in the decade of making the show, Clunes had to take time off work. Clunes lost so much weight in fact that the costume department weren't even able to alter the clothes he wore in the show, but had to make him a brand new set of suits. The filming schedule also had to be rearranged to cover Clunes' two-week absence.
Clunes in 2010.
On his return to filming Clunes was very touched by the kindness of the people who live in Port Isaac where Doc Martin in filmed.
"Local people have been very kind to us", said Clunes. "When I returned to filming people said some sweet things to me about hoping I was feeling better because they'd heard I had been ill."
For four months of every other year, Clunes and the rest of his team take over the village that doubles for Portwenn. Recently, in appreciation of the generosity of the people of Port Isaac, Clunes - whose production company produces Doc Martin - decided to donate a percentage of the profits to a special Trust Fund set up to benefit the Port Isaac community.
"Undoubtedly Doc Martin has changed the character of the village. It has done the business and tourist industry a lot of good, and brought people into the village. But with that comes the fact the locals lose a bit of peace some times. I felt we should give something back to the village", explained Clunes when asked about the Trust Fund.
Clunes cutting the ribbon surrounding the new Outdoor Trail
at Delabole School.
Another recipient of Clunes' generosity was an elementary school in the nearby village of Delabole. It's there that the classroom scenes for Portwenn School are filmed and the real-life school was given a donation to create a nature trail, which Clunes officially opened last year. Unlike the rest of the cast and crew who stay in Port Isaac, Delabole is actually where Clunes chooses to live when filming Doc Martin.
"I need to be tucked away", explains the 53 year old actor. "I have so many lines to learn. It's not as picturesque as Port Isaac and gets a lot of fog and rain but I love Delabole. I've never seen such a close-knit community".
Be sure to tune into the movie that spawned the series! Doc Martin: The Movie airs on MPT June 5th at 9pm.
To contact Heather:
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117