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ITV series, 2004-present. The character originally appeared as Doctor Martin Bamford in two BSkyB TV movies, before being significantly retconned and renamed by Dominic Minghella (spot the anagram).

Dr. Martin Ellingham is a man with two fairly large problems. Firstly, he's got all the social skills of Temperance Brennan with none of the attractiveness. Secondly, he's managed to acquire a fear of blood. The latter resulted in him leaving his job as a successful surgeon in London and heading for the Cornish village of Portwenn to become their GP (General Practitioner, i.e. village doctor).

There he deals with the variety of local oddballs, the medical enigmas of the week, his aunt, and his ex-fiancée who he got pregnant.

This comedy drama contains examples of the following:

  • Afraid of Blood: Martin, of course.
    • He seeks therapy to correct it in season 4 and is over it by season 5.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: The climax of season 5 is Martin finally battling through his innate stuffiness to really tell Louisa how he truly feels (and also why he finds it so difficult to express it), a combi crowning moment of awesome, tearjerking, and funny.
  • Arcadia
  • Bitter Almonds: Not actually cyanide, but Martin manages to identify the smell of Copper Arsenite, which is giving a patient of the week Arsenic poisoning via a (unintentional) Napoleon's Wallpaper plot.
  • Britain Is Only London: Averted. Britain is London AND Cornwall.
  • British Brevity: Currently 38 episodes over 7 years.
  • British Stuffiness: Martin, is almost a caricature of the emotionally repressed Brit. From his stiff as a board posture, to his constant inability to handle emotions (well, postive emotions anyway, he has a better handle on the negative ones).
  • Broken Aesop: In the final episode of season 1, a nine-year old boy who's kind of a loner is told by Louisa that, if you allow people to make fun of you and don't react, then they'll accept you because "they'll see you're okay". Even worse, this Aesop is repeated by the boy to Martin... who in the same episode had been the victim of a practical joke that wasn't strictly a Deadly Prank, but was still pretty cruel and quickly made him a laughing stock by pretty much everybody in the village, to the point where he was being discussed on local radio.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Martin and Stewart (the forest ranger).
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Martin.
  • Chekhov's Gun: If someone coughs, scratches an itch, or sneezes in the beginning, they're probably the victim of this week's medical mystery.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Morwena manages to revive her grandfather with a good minute and a half worth of this.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Dr Dibbs is stunningly incompetent in treating herself, on a massive amount of self-prescribed medication and having missed an almost fatal diagnosis. She's barely any better with her patients.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Penhale, heavier on the moron than the badass admittedly, but he came across as a very professional and scary copper when he dealt with the evil loan sharks threatening Bert.
  • Cute Kitten: Even the All Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks love cute kittens, they keep one in their van.
  • The Danza: Martin Ellingham is played by Martin Clunes.
  • Deadly Prank: Averted (see Broken Aesop above), but as Martin pointed out, it did keep him from attending to patients that actually needed his help
  • Derailing Love Interests: Louisa reunites with her ex-boyfriend, who accepts a job in London after asking her to marry him. So she dumps him because he's disingenuous about living a life together in their beloved village, and not so much because he's an insufferable Jesus freak.
  • Doctor's Orders: Though many patients don't recognize his authority.
  • Drama Bomb: When Joan is Killed Off for Real at the start of season 5.
  • Dropped a Bridge On Her: Aunt Joan. Killed off offscreen with a heart attack in her jeep, which was found crashed into a gorse thicket.
  • Dr. Jerk With A Heart Of Gold.

 "It was easy to find you, I just followed the trail of outraged people".

    • The Dr. Jerk is played straight in the 4th series with the character of Dr. Edith Montgomery, who not only shares Martin's lack of bedside manner but has even less care or empathy for her patients.
  • Express Lane Limit
  • Follow the Leader: Distant Shores, staring Peter Davison as a fish-out-of-water city doctor on the Northumbrian island Hildasay.
    • Less specifically, it also owes something to Northern Exposure.
    • Also, the Spanish version.
  • Fish Out of Water: Not so much these days.
  • The Fun in Funeral: Season Five, Ep2, plays this to the hilt with Joan's funeral. The hearse is late, the guests are weird[1], the pall-bearers drop the coffin, Martin turns Joan's eulogy into a medical case history presentation-cum-public health lecture, the local police constable bemoans dealing with simple heart attacks and not something exciting, someone's mobile phone goes off playing "things can only get better" as a ring-tone. The usual for Portwenn really.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: It's implied that PC Penhale used to be a city cop (and/or a better cop) before being kicked in the head by a horse on a call. It messed him up quite badly, resulting in narcolepsy, agoraphobia, and mood swings that ruined his marriage.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Suffered from this at first due to Martin Clunes being well known for playing Gary on Men Behaving Badly, but this has decreased over time as he has become equally famous for this role.
  • Hostage Situation: Martin, Louisa, and Pauline are taken hostage by a criminal who is suffering from untreated bipolar disorder. It ends after about half a dozen others get roped into it, a medical emergency occurs, and Martin completely loses patience with the sitation.
  • Ho Yay: Surprisingly, between Martin and PC Penhale. In the episode with Penhale's brother, Penhale runs around Martin's office and hugs the Doc while shirtless. Later that same episode, Penhale gives Martin a present and mentions their "special relationship."
  • Imaginary Friend: Anthony, an invisible 6-foot squirrel.
    • In the Spanish version, Migue, an alien from Saturn.
  • Informed Self Diagnosis: The "gets it wrong" variant of this trope is done twice.
    • Dr Dibbs self-diagnosis almost kills her before Martin manages to correct it.
    • Martin's Aunt Ruth diagnoses herself with a terminal illness, listing all the symptoms, but thankfully Martin is on hand to point a couple of symptoms she's missed which means he has to break the bad news that she is going to live as she has something totally different.
  • Instant Birth, Just Add Water with Screaming Birth: Louisa, although to be fair she had just been in a car accident, but less than half an hour had passed between waters breaking and delivery.
  • Insufferable Genius: The Doc
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While the Doc has a habit of being extraordinarily rude to people, it's clear that he does care about their well-being, but is frustrated by the fact that they never follow directions. He also clearly loves his Aunt, Louisa, and even Pauline. This is most obviously expressed in the episode where he and Louisa become engaged, as he tells off Pauline's mum for accusing Pauline of being a criminal when really she just has a gambling addiction, and where he tells Louisa that he can't bear to live without her.
  • Killed Off for Real: Auntie Joan dies of a heart attack offscreen during the hiatus between seasons 4 and 5.
  • Licked by the Dog: Martin in basically every episode. Some episodes almost use the dog as a link.
  • Loan Shark: It turns out that Bert has had to go to some loan sharks to keep his restaurant afloat.
  • The Local: The Crab and Lobster.
  • Location Doubling: The fictional Portwenn is played by Cornish village Port Isaac.
    • This gets a Shout-Out in the Spanish version, "Doctor Mateo". The fictional town in which the Spanish version is played, San Martín del Sella (actually Lastres), is said to be a sister town to Portwenn.
  • Long List : The list of medications Dr Dibbs prescribed for herself is insanely long.
  • Misery Builds Character: Martin was brought up by emotionally distant and borderline abusive parents who resented having a child at all.

  Martin: I was locked in the cupboard under the stairs as a child, and it never did me any harm.

  • Moment Killer: Martin manages to muck up the moment with Louisa repeatedly.
  • Mood Whiplash: A deliberate part of the format, with a dark and light story winding around each other every episode.
  • Motor Mouth: Morwena after taking some "energy pills", see Mushroom Samba below.
  • Mushroom Samba: In Series 5, after noticing bouts of hyperactive behaviour, Martin fires his new receptionist for taking drugs. It later finds out that the "energy pills" her grandfather had given her were actually 70-year-old metamphetamines from his WWII ration kit. Both assumed they were safe because it had the Government stamp on, after all... the Government wouldn't give out something that was bad for you.
  • Mystery of the Week: Either a single patient with a strange illness or a town epidemic.
  • Oedipus Complex: In one episode, a painter has this for Auntie Joan.
  • Only Sane Man: Martin likes to paint himself as one of these, however Joan and her replacement Ruth have far better claims on this (albeit in different ways).
  • Opposites Attract: Martin and Louisa basically cover every trope in this section at some point.
  • Parental Abandoment: The Ellinghams took every opportunity to not have to raise Martin, sending him to boarding school at age six and having him spend summers with Aunt Joan (until his father decided that Joan was too immoral). Louisa's mother walked out on the family when she was ten and she became estranged from her gambling-addict father when she was an adult. Her father eventually becomes a criminal, causing a second estrangement. Her mother returned to become a cast member in season 5.
  • Pet the Dog: Martin writes a prescription[2] to the town's ranger, a traumatised war veteran. Later, he does the same[3] for a teenage girl who is suffering largely from being a teenager.
  • Recycled: the Series: Kind of an odd example. A character, played by Clunes appeared in a film Saving Grace and later two prequel miniseries. In making this series, the character was given a Retool with Doctor Jerk added to the character (who was originally just a Fish Out of Water), and his last name was changed to Ellingham (an anagram of the last name of the show's writer Dominic Minghella).
  • Running Gag: The dog that follows Martin around.
  • Sassy Secretary: Elaine. Mostly averted with Pauline, though she really "wants" to be one.
  • Scenery Porn: From the opening titles, the DOP takes the opinion that any shot with less than three people in it can be improved with moorland or some good Cornish cliffs.
  • Slut Shaming: After the surprise pregnancy, both Ellingham and Louisa get some guff. He for not doing the right thing and marrying her, her for having had sex and being Defiled Forever. Her pregnancy cost her a job in London, and the town pharmacist is snippy about it due to her own crush on Ellingham.
  • Spock Speak: Ellingham, frequently.
  • Supreme Chef: Martin is a very talented chef, and does almost of all of the cooking in his relationship with Louisa. His creations verge on Food Porn at times.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • PC Penhale for PC Mylow.
    • Originally Pauline for Elaine, though since Pauline has run for three seasons now she has a rather well developed, unique character.
      • Morwena is very much one for Pauline though.
    • Averted with the replacement for Aunt Joan, Martin's Aunt Ruth is a very different person.
  • Ten-Minute Retirement: Martin's replacement at the end of season 4 is so stunningly incompetent he feels he has to take over again.
  • The West Country
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Blood.
  • Your Head Asplode: Ellingham diagnoses one patient with Exploding Head Syndrome, the patient assumes it is a literal description fearing this trope.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: What is the reaction to a man holding a baby, giving a testicular exam to a policeman, in a public lavatory?

 PC Penhale: Give us a minute Nigel.

Nigel: All right.

  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Almost. Ellingham and Louisa had a difficult on-again-off-again relationship, conceived a baby, almost married, and reconciled in the final episode of season 4.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: After Martin resigns to go to London at the end of season 4 he is replaced by the lovely, sweet, and patient Dr Dibbs. She's so bad at the job that it's a relief to get grumpy old Martin back.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Martin and Louisa, and to some extent, Pauline and Al.
  1. er than normal
  2. vitamin pills
  3. with breath mints