At the Scene of “Doc Martin,” Series 7 — Part 4 — Location Sets in Beautiful Port Isaac

by Karen Gilleland  © 2015

Scenic port isaac

Last October, I announced that Martin Clunes had donated a walk-on part for “Doc Martin” to benefit Emily Skerrett, a young woman with a connective tissue disorder who wanted to compete in the para-Olympics for Dressage, and that the part was being auctioned on eBay. What was an “insanely addicted fan” like myself to do but bid? That explains how I became an “extra.”

I am especially grateful to Johnny Bamford, Jim Connelly-Webster and Emily’s mother, Janey Comber, for spicing up our experience with remarkable “extras.”

I was walking to my hotel one afternoon when a car pulled up. “Are you the lady from America?” a man asked.

“Yes, how did you know?”

“I was told to look for the lady in the fishing vest.” Next thing I knew, Linda and I were whisked off to see the sights.

Please click on photo to enlarge. Use back arrow, top of screen left, to return to page.

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It turned out that Johnny Bamford, Location Manager, had volunteered to take us on a tour of sites used in the show.

How does he come up with the unique places we see on the screen? His simple answer: “I knock on plenty of doors.”

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We stopped at the production studio, known as “The Farm.” The mooing cows attest to the fact that the acreage is still a working farm. The company leases the buildings and stores the sets from season to season.

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Inside the huge building to the left, we discovered the magic of TV: The “Doc’s” office, reception, kitchen, bedrooms and more. Taking turns at the “Doc’s” desk, we could hear him saying, “Roll up your sleeve,” and “That’s not a medical problem, is it?”

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Threading through tools, equipment, furniture, movable walls, and construction paraphernalia gave us an appreciation of the creative work that goes on behind the scenes.

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We walked over to the other building and my favorite place: The film editing office.IMG_2573

“Doc Martin” uses film rather than digital recording. Explains Nick, the film editor: “When the show started in 2004, film was standard in the industry. We’ve continued to use it ever since.”

Film produces a greater richness of color than digital, important when filming the beautiful locations in Port Isaac.

The film is sent to a laboratory in London to be developed and digitized. When it returns, Nick begins piecing together what could be described as a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each scene is coded so that he knows precisely where pieces fit. He examines each frame to choose the best shots, making sure to include those takes the director has indicated should be used.

“I have the best job,” Nick admits, “because I am the first person to see the final product.”

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Next it was out to Aunt Ruth’s (previously Aunt Joan’s) farm house with its breath-taking views. Then Johnny took us to a number of other spots featured in the shows.

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On another afternoon, Emily’s family treated Linda and me to high tea at their friend’s 12th CenturyIMG_2597 farmhouse. It was used in Series 2, Episode 3, “Blood Is Thicker,” about the two young men and their dad, the taxidermist. The crew altered parts of the interior and furnishings, but you do see the ancient, original fireplace in the show.

Everything was back in place, of course, when we visited.

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Judy, the owner of the property, served a scrumptious tea, with finger sandwiches, scones and clotted cream, desserts and pastries. The place settings were two hundred years old. Fortunately, I didn’t learn that until later; otherwise, I probably would have dropped a cup.

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A few more beautiful and inspiring shots.

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You’ll have to enlarge this one to see the flock of birds caught in the storm.

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Thanks to Linda Villelli, Joseph Barnett, Viola Brown, John & Pam Russell for supplying photos for this series.

Next up: My Walk-on Part

To see additional photos, click on the following:

Part 1 — “The Crew”

Part 2 — “Filming in the Village and Harbor”

Part 3 — “Outside the Surgery”

Part 5 — “My Walk-on Part”

Part 6 — “Memories and Favorite Photos”

To read all articles and FanFiction, go to the front page of karengilleland.wordpress.com

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10 thoughts on “At the Scene of “Doc Martin,” Series 7 — Part 4 — Location Sets in Beautiful Port Isaac

  1. Pingback: At the Scene of “Doc Martin,” Series 7 — Part 2 — Filming in the Village and Harbor | "Doc Martin" with Martin Clunes Fan

  2. Hi Karen
    It must have been very exciting waiting for the result of the walk on for Doc Martin on eBay.
    I really enjoyed seeing the cottage where you had afternoon tea. It was hard to believe they were the same place as the one in the show. It looked so cozy. You are very kind sharing your photos and information from your very exciting trip. Thank you

  3. Delightful account of your adventure!
    Thank you for sharing.
    I appreciate your enthusiasm for the
    Doc Martin series, especially since I was feeling as though I were becoming a crazy person for liking it so much. It’s lovely knowing that others are as captivated as I have been. Thanks again!

  4. What a wonderful experience you had! I wish I was there with you. As for when Series 7 will be shown in the US, my local PBS station keeps saying end of Jan 2016. Way too long to wait!
    Keep posting, we want to hear more about this trip.

  5. I’m such a fan of teas and collecting teacups that I would have been thrilled to go for high tea as you did. Did the yard have abandoned refrigerators as in Season 2? Just kidding. The interior was transformed from the one I found so scary in Season 2.

    Do you know if there will be a Season 8 and, if so, will there be more walk-on auctions? I think your illustrated travelogue of your Doc Martin experience would encourage many more bidders next time.

    Thanks again. Mary O.

  6. I wish i was there. Are they still filiming or are they done? Season 6 Louisa did not not want to go home with Martin. How does the Season 7 Start?

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