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Caroline Catz on Her Time in Port Isaac, What's Next for Louisa and Martin

caroline catz
Caroline Catz

The following profile is courtesy of ITV. Catch a new season of "Doc Martin" on KCET starting Jan. 24.

An evening stroll along the coastal path near Port Isaac after a day’s filming on "Doc Martin" turned to nightmare for Caroline Catz when she became trapped by a herd of angry cattle. 

She had decided to “blow away the cobwebs” after a day in the studio and make the four mile walk from Port Isaac to Port Quin, where the views of the coastline are spectacular. It was beginning to get dark as Caroline started to walk back, with no idea of the danger ahead. 

“It’s quite a difficult walk, with lots of ups and downs, and a sheer drop. Nobody warns you in the countryside, not like when you are in town you get a hazard warning notice, there are no warnings when you are in the wild Cornish countryside."

“I got to the point where it was getting dark, I had no water and I was getting scared, and no signal on my mobile phone." 

“I rounded a corner to come face to face with five enormous bullocks on the cliff path. They had escaped from the farmer’s field. They were running towards me, it was perilous. It was like being on tightrope as it was, the drop was so sheer next to the coastal path. There was no way past them. Either they were going to rampage at me and I was going to go over the cliff, or I was going to have to inch by them, and one of them would have gone over the cliff, there was no other way."  

“I looked at my phone which was now running out of battery. A miracle happened where one bar of signal appeared, and I phoned the farmer to tell him ‘there’s five of your cattle on the coast path, and it’s either them or me, I don’t know what to do’. He said he’d come over. I managed to crawl under a fence, and through the field back to safety. The farmer was able to rescue the cattle too.” 

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What's Ahead for Season 8

In the new season of "Doc Martin," Caroline’s character Louisa is facing a dilemma. She’s no longer enjoying her job as a headmistress and she desperately wants to spend more time with her baby son James Henry and husband Martin. 

She thinks child therapy and counseling could be a way forward to providing a better work life balance. But it means time consuming training while she holds down a full time job. Although Martin is supporting her as part of his effort to be a better husband and father, she knows he is sceptical about her plans. 

“At the start of the series we have got to a new place with Martin and Louisa. There is no more discussion about whether or not they should be together, they have decided for better or for worse they need to make a go of it for James, and because they have acknowledged they love one another and want to be together, even though there are may things which are incompatible."  

“It’s a bit terrifying for both of them, but it is something they are going to try. You see Martin making more of an effort than usual, booking restaurant outings and trying to work out their plans and have a nice time."

But every time that happens it never goes to plan. 

“Louisa is making big decisions this series. She is pre-occupied with James‘ well-being and with where she is at in her career. As a head so much time is spent on administration and its not really the stuff she loves, which is working with children and watching them improve and grow and flourish. She’s having to stay up late to fulfill all these paperwork demands."  

“From looking into it, and having friends who are teachers you realize they are under such massive pressure. She is no longer enjoying her work, and she wants to be spending time with her young child. She has great loyalty to the school, she feels terribly torn, she doesn’t want to leave the school she was at as a child, then a teacher and now she’s a head. It has been the center of her life and now she feels like she’s being forced to rethink." 

“But then she misses James speaking his first word. Everybody in the village seems to know that James has spoken his first word, but her. Every corner she rounds people are saying‘ well done I’ve heard your your little boy is talking’."

“That was the big wake up call for her. Even though they are in this tiny village she still feels miles away from where she wants to be which is having a better work life balance.” 

The training Louisa has to undertake means Martin has to take over more of the child care duties. 

“It is really touching to see Louisa and Martin trying to exist together. I find it really realistic as well. Often you see couples and you think ‘how on earth are they together’. It is interesting to see the way people have to contort their personality to remain in a relationship, and sometimes a strange result will appear because they have had to make a lot of compromises to make the relationship work."

“You see Louisa and Martin go through that process of adjusting to one another, not fighting the fact they are going to be together. There is no running away this time." 

“One of the really sweet and kind things Martin does to make Louisa happy is to agree to have Buddy the dog to live with them, even though it is the most horrific idea for him to have some germ-infested, lice-ridden mutt in the house."

“Louisa thinks one of the things that would make life a little better for James and help his development is if he has a pet. She has looked into it and has seen that children thrive when they have empathy with a pet or somebody they can be close to in that way, to build a relationship and have a bond with. She has a secret fear that James could easily become a mini Doc. She has to hide that from Martin. She doesn’t want him to know that she doesn’t want her son to become like him, because that would be really insulting and counter productive.” 

In this season, Caroline has been able to bring her own passion for vintage fashion to her character’s wardrobe. One of her favorite designers, Justine Tabac, who specializes in designs using British vintage prints, has designed a dress for Louisa. 

“Clothes are so intrinsic to who you are that as an actor as you are preparing for a role for me that is a starting point."

 “I really love Justine’s attention to detail, the prints are so pretty and beautiful that they look really modern. I was thrilled to wear one of Justine’s dresses which she designed specially for Louisa.” 

 

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