Martin Clunes has often said that the future of “Doc Martin” depends on whether the creative team can come up with good story lines.
I recently came across an account of Jacob Barnett, who was diagnosed as a toddler with Asperger’s Syndrome and not expected to function on his own, even to the extent of tying his own shoes. Educators put him into special education until his mother, Kristine, decided to “fly against the advice of the professionals.” She said she knew in her heart that if Jake stayed in special ed, “he would slip away.”
Her wisdom was well founded, as Jacob’s genius began to unfold. He taught himself all of high school math in two weeks. At age 15, Jacob, with an IQ of 170 (higher than Einstein’s), is the youngest student at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, where he is working on a theory of relativity that may lead to a Nobel Prize.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to watch the interaction between Martin and Louisa if James Henry were to exhibit characteristics of Asperger’s. Martin would probably recommend a medical solution to “solve the problem,” whereas Louisa would want to go with her maternal nurturing instincts to embrace James’ differences and allow him to develop without the intervention of specialists. At any rate, the story line is perhaps one that would allow the series to continue beyond 2015.
Kristine Barnett’s book, The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism
Many articles about Jacob are on the web, including this one in the UK’s The Mirror.