Popular ITV show Doc Martin returned for a new run of eight episodes last week, and this ninth series is ramping up the drama. The titular character is a surgeon who moves to Cornwall and becomes a GP after developing a fear of blood. This time around, he finds himself under scrutiny by the General Medical Council after several patients (understandably) complain about his grumpy attitude. But who plays him, and who are his co-stars? Read on to find out everything you need to know about this talented bunch…
Martin is a veteran of the entertainment industry
Martin has played his namesake Doctor Martin Ellingham since 2004. The fictional doctor's change in career path meant he reluctantly relocated to the fictional Cornish village of Portwenn, but Martin Clunes is much happier about spending time in the area in real life, telling Cornwall Live how much he loves working there. The 57-year old said: "The county is so beautiful, and the people have been so warm and welcoming to us. It is the best job in television." The actor first shot to fame playing the immature Gary in 1990s sitcom Men Behaving Badly alongside Neil Morrisey. More recently, you might have seen him in Warren, a comedy about a driving instructor, as well as in thriller Manhunt, and he also played Sir Pitt Crawley in last year's Vanity Fair.
Caroline has often played police officers
Caroline plays Louisa Ellingham (formerly Glasson), the headteacher of the local school who marries Martin. She's obviously got a knack for playing authority figures as her other well-known roles include Detective Inspector Kate Ashurst in Murder in Suburbia, Detective Inspector Helen Morton in DCI Banks and PC Cheryl Hutchins in The Vice. She's married to actor Michael Higgs, having met him on the set of The Bill, where she played another police officer. She's also presented documentaries and appeared in plays, including productions of Curtains and Top Girls.
Ian McNeice has been a cast member since the beginning
As local plumber Bert Large, Ian McNeice has been a regular on the show since it started, and he's become a firm fan favourite, even telling The Mirror that the show had made him a "sex symbol" in his sixties. Now 69, he started out in TV series The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby back in 1982, and has since become a veteran of films and television, having played the Newsreader in HBO series Rome and starred in movies like Dune, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, and The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, alongside Hugh Grant.
Dame Eileen is a writer as well as a star of stage and screen
Dame Eileen Atkins
Dame Eileen plays Ruth Ellingham on Doc Martin – Martin's aunt, as well as a retired forensic psychiatrist. You might also know her as Queen Mary in The Crown or recognise her from roles in films like Paddington 2, Jack and Sarah, Last Chance Harvey, and Gosford Park. A veteran of the stage as well as screen, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1957, made her Broadway debut in 1966 and has been nominated for four Tony Awards and won three Olivier Awards, as well as an Emmy and a BAFTA. Her talents don't stop at acting: she co-created the TV dramas Upstairs, Downstairs and The House of Elliot with her collaborator Jean Marsh and wrote the screenplay for 1997 movie Mrs Dalloway.
Former EastEnders star Joe plays pub landlord Al Large on the Cornish drama. Prior to Doc Martin, he was best known for his work on the London-set soap, which he joined in 1997, but it wasn't his first role. As a child, he was cast in a series of advertisements for Sun-Pat peanut butter and went on to star in 1991 movie Antonia and Jane and TV shows including The Bill and Silent Witness. He won Best Actor Award at The British Soap Awards in 2000 and is currently starring in crime series A Confession alongside Martin Freeman.
Joe started his career in peanut butter adverts
Selina plays pharmacist Sally Tishell in the series. The quirky character wears a collar throughout the show due to a neck injury and developed a short-lived crush on Doc Martin in series four. She's also starred in Love, Nina, The Lady in the Van and The Vicar of Dibley and in real life, is best friends with Hollywood star Sigourney Weaver, having met her when they were drama students in the 1970s.
John has appeared in the show as police officer Joe Penhale since series three. The Coventry-born actor's dad hailed from Spain, his mum from England. You'll likely know his niece, Ramona Marquez, from BBC sitcom Outnumbered, and his brother Martin and son Raoul are actors as well. John is also known for Porridge, Death in Paradise, and Hotel Babylon.
Jessica Ransom has played Doc Martin's receptionist Morwenna Newcross since series five. She's also taken on various characters on children's show Horrible Histories and starred in TV series Zapped and The Armstrong and Miller Show, for which she worked as a writer. The Sheffield-born star won a Children's BAFTA Award in 2015.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.