Doc Martin

Doc Martin Rewind - Episode 1: "Going Bodmin"

Welcome to the debut of KCET's Doc Martin episode recaps! Check back every week for new entries going live after the show every week.

Well who is this stone-faced, buttoned-up gentleman gazing disdainfully from an airplane at the small town below him? Meet Dr. Martin Ellingham, a preeminent London doctor with an abrasive bedside manner who has left his swanky post to open up a general practice in the small Cornish town of Portwenn.

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3_doc_430.jpg2_Louisa.jpgRight away we see that Ellingham has a way with the ladies. If creepily staring at a woman were a mating ritual, this guy would be King Rico Suave, Master of Seduction. Unfortunately, his leering causes the brunette across from him to hightail it to another seat, after sternly telling him, "You've got a problem."

Dr. Ellingham's first order of business is a meeting with the medical advisory committee charged with approving his position as GP. It just so happens that the lovely brunette he thoroughly creeped out just hours earlier is Louisa Glasson, a Portwenn primary school teacher who is also on the adviosory committee. Enter: conflict!

Everyone seems to be impressed by Dr. Ellingham's credentials, except Louisa, who knows just how unsettling a face-to-face interaction with the Doc can be. If he creeped her out in a matter of seconds from across a plane, what is he capable of behind closed doctor's office doors?

His resume wins out over his lack of friendliness, and just as Louisa is about to give him a stern warning to shape up or ship out the Doc diagnoses her with acute glaucoma.


"You're kidding," she says. "No, You should see an eye specialist today. Excuse me," says the Doc in his trademark unemphatic drawl. So his unsettling stare was simply a poorly executed eye examination of a stranger from across the room. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have a talented doctor who was socially awkward than a charmer with less-than House-level medical skills. But hey, that's just me.

So now we get a look at this scenic little seaside town and its motley crew of inhabitants, including Scruffertons the dog, who the Doc also doesn't seem to care for. More than five minutes into the episode and we still haven't seen Doc show even a hint of emotion on his face.

DocSmile_430.jpgIn fact, the closest we get to a human expression is this -- > (a smile?) his reaction to seeing a Portwenn resident's beloved Volkswagen Beatle floating out to sea. Schadenfreude, anyone?

Elaine_430.jpgDoc starts setting up his new home/practice and up waltzes a scowling, braid-headed young lady who introduces herself as Elaine, the practice receptionist from the neighboring town of Delabole. Even though he hasn't started hiring for a receptionist position, Elaine gets to work, which consists of chatting on the phone to her boyfriend, Greg, and being generally unhelpful with the Doc's requests for new equipment.

We soon find out that Portwenn is town of the pop-ins. Col. Gilbert Spencer comes to Doc's office seemingly without an appointment to speak about an urgent matter. Turns out this handsome older gentleman is suffering from a man-boob situation.

"Oh, right. The medical term is gynocomastia," says the Doc. "Does it have something to do with the water?" asks the Colonel. "I sincerely hope not or we'll all be needing a bra," answers the Doc.

Kramer shows off his invention, the Bro Doesn't this doctor know that the correct term is the Manzier. Or is it the Bro?

< -- I guess there are two schools of thought on that one.

The Colonel doesn't seem to find this reference to wearing women's undergarments very funny and tells the Doc he'll be taking his business elsewhere.

Doc heads out to Haven Farm just outside of Portwenn to visit his Aunt Joan -- A place he used to frequent as a child. She invites him to stay for a chicken dinner and wants to know why he gave up his swanky post as surgeon in London to be a lowly GP in this po-dunk town. But before she can inquire further the Doc is running out the door, seemingly frightened by the cleaver about the chop off the whole chicken's head. Is Doc an animal lover?

While Dr. Ellingham is out running an errand he's accosted by Susan Brading for a prescription for some kind of unnamed feminine cream for "women of a certain age." He dashes off her prescription for HRT cream without asking any more questions (smart man). rx_430.jpg

Of course, being a chronic rule-follower that he is, he examines Mrs. Brading's medical file and finds that she has been using way too much estrogen cream. It just so happens that Susan is married to the Colonel with the breast issue.

Ah-ha! So the doctor's found a connection and solved the Colonel's problem! Or so we think. Shortly after returning from delivering his findings to the Colonel, twenty-something Ross is waiting at the Doc's office with the same breast problem.

breasts2_430.jpgSo the man-boob mystery continues! Off to what appears to be a town festival to find Lady Brading and get to the bottom of this.

Dr. Ellingham runs into Louisa Glasson who is now sporting an eye patch. Looks like his diagnosis of acute glaucoma was spot on.
"So how are you finding us?" she asks. "Irritating. Aside from the primary school teacher, who is also a pirate, it seems," he says. Wait a minute. Is Doc Martin flirting? I think he is! Hip, hip, hooray for sexual tension!

Of course, right in the middle of their flirt sesh the Doc runs off after the Colonel to get into some more gynocomastia talk. Annoying, but at least he's dedicated to his job. Just as the doc pulls the Colonel to a private area to talk about this new wrinkle in the gynocomastia mystery, they stumble upon an answer:


Lady Brading and Ross making out! So it is the cream! Looks like this lady's got some serious 'splainin' to do!

After an exhausting day of shenanigans and annoyances, Doc Martin decides to leave Portwenn and abandon his run as GP. But first he's determined to smooth things over between the Colonel and his wife. Or try at least.

With a freshly busted nose due to his not-so-valiant efforts as a marriage counseller, he breaks the bad news of his departure to Joan. Look at her sad face! Nose_430.jpg

As Doc packs up his things in his office, Bert the plumber comes by with a few (ok, several) last minute appointment requests and some subsequent stern words for the rude and agitated Doc:

bertend_430.jpg"The way I look at this, Doc, is that you need patients and we need a Doc. Now we don't need to love one another do we?"

Bert's words seem to have struck a nerve, and the episode ends with Doc removing the for sale sign from in front of his office. Maybe he'll try and stick this one out for a while!

Best Doc rant: "You, hold this and shut up. You, get off the phone and find the stopcock and you, either go back to Delabole, wherever that may be, and don't come back, or go and find a mop and work out how to use it!"

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I live walking distance to Dodger Stadium and have little dog named Dobby.
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