'Doc Martin: The Movies'
(Martin Clunes, Ben Bolt, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / (2001) 2011 / Acorn Media)
Overview: 'Doc Martin: The Movies' are two made-for-TV movies made before the British TV show, that we all now know and love, had been given the green light. Following a different stream of thought with regard Doc Martin himself (as a character), nevertheless Martin Clunes still shines as Doctor Martin Bamford, a London gynecologist fleeing a bad marriage in Port Isaac, the coastal village of his childhood.
DVD Verdict: Before we start, did you know the facts behind why 'Doc Martin,' the TV show was born in the first place? No? Well, allow me to reveal, as I didn't know either before today! After the wickedly brilliant Irish film, 'Saving Grace' came out, Clunes' production company decided they'd like to do some more with said character, and so signed a deal with SKY TV to produce a series of made-for-TV movies. It also doesn't hurt that one of the original writers on 'Saving Grace' was TV's late night talk show host, Craig Ferguson!
Anyway, in 'Doc Martin: The Movies' first tale, aptly named, 'Doc Martin' our beloved Doctor Martin Bamford (and not, as the TV show that came thereafter renamed him, Doctor Martin Ellingham!) and is first seen joining his mates for an expensive lunch - whilst at the same time finding out they had ALL slept with his wife! Cue the moment to have a slight nervous breakdown and storm somewhere, anywhere different. But without a passport, he plums for Cornwall.
Once there, he is taxi'd from Bodmin Parkway train station (where my father really lives - Bodmin, that is, not the train station!) to a small pub for the night in Port Isaac (and not the soon-to-be-changed-to village of Portwenn). Accused of being the Jelly Maker, an infamous troublemaker within the village that leaves jelly's with incriminating notes inside to cause unrest within said village (all whilst wearing yellow marigold gloves!), he starts life out mourning for his marriage. But soon learns to fish, make new friends, and enjoy himself away from all-things London.
In the second TV episode, 'The Legend of the Cloutie,' after deciding to stay longer than a week in Port Isaac, he decides he wants to buy a house, but is gazzumped at the last moment by both a couple looking to knock it down for flats and a crooked realtor! Learning more about the legend of the Beast of Bodmin, something that (so tales have it) actually did exist at one point down there on Bodmin Moor!), he sets about trying to scare the young daughter of the couple - so that she screams hard enough that they want to forget the deal and move on!
But, as you would expect that backfires badly and soon he has to revert to an old Cornish myth, the Legend of the Cloutie. A piece of garment from the local 'Witch' that when placed near the thing you want to turn its goodness towards you instead, can also bite you in the ass tri-fold! And so, our very friendly, always congenial (unlike the one in the long-running TV show, where he is short-fused, never smiles, and always going out of his way to go out of his way!) Doc Martin, uses this folk magic to get what he wants: the country home. [RT] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of a Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery from Series 1.