John Marquez on PC Joe Penhale's Whirlwind Romance

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

John Marquez
John Marquez

With wedding bells ringing in Portwenn for PC Joe Penhale, could this be the end of the run of bad luck with romance for John Marquez’s character? 

The unlucky-in-love police officer has had a whirlwind romance with the Doc’s nanny, Janice, played by Robyn Addison, and as the new season opens they are poised to walk down the aisle as man and wife.    

“Penhale and Janice got together after discovering they both loved fish and chips! At the end of the last season they had a date on a two-for-one fish and chip meal deal at the local chippie, and that was it.”  

“It’s a whirlwind romance  — eight weeks they have been together.”  

“Janice is very pretty. She had a kind of innocence that meant that while pretty much everyone else tells Penhale to shut up and calls him an idiot, she didn’t, so he thought ‘she will do nicely’!”   

Penhale’s first wife left him because she said he was a failure. Heartbroken by the break up, Penhale moved to Portwenn to start again. But his ex wife followed him and with an illness affecting her memory thought they were still married, giving Penhale hope of a reconciliation.   

“It was tricky for Penhale because if someone has broken your heart suddenly comes back to you and says they want to be with you again, to resist that is really hard. When she started the medication, and remembered what had happened, she very quickly realized why she had left him in the first place and left him again.” 

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The omens aren’t great for Penhale’s second marriage when he and Janice have an interview with the curate who is to officiate at their wedding. 

“The curate is suspicious of whether this is a hurried decision between the two of them. That puts a seed of doubt into Janice’s mind, but not into Penhale’s. The curate asks questions about what we both want, and big discrepancies come up. For example when asked do you want children, Janice says ‘no’ and Penhale says ‘five or six’!” 

A pre-wedding party ends in shambles, and Penhale is diagnosed by the Doc with kidney stones which are causing him great pain. But Penhale is determined the wedding will go ahead, and refuses to take pain killers saying ‘drugs are for mugs’.  

“Penhale tries to hurry through the wedding ceremony because he’s in so much pain. Janice is trying to stop it because she doesn’t want it to go ahead, and then the curate is struggling because she is ill.”  

“It was good fun to film the wedding scenes because it was in a lovely church, and I had to rush into the belfry and make noises as I imagined people make passing a kidney stone.”  

“Before we filmed the scenes I did do some research. On YouTube, bizarrely enough, I found there are videos of people passing kidney stones, and going through the pain and women saying it is worse than childbirth. Although Penhale’s fans will feel sorry for the unlucky copper, John loves the fact his character never quite gets things right.  “What I like about playing Penhale is that he never seems to find the right person. I like the thought of him constantly liking people and never quite cool enough to land something.” John has seen the popularity of his character grow with every new season. 

 “When I first started in the series, nobody knew who I was, by the second series people would say ‘that’s the policeman’ and now if I went down on the harbour in Port Isaac I would be there for a long time having photos taken.”  

“One day I was having a drink in the village and someone asked for a photograph. Before I knew it I had a queue of people wanting photos and autographs. I did start to get a bit uncomfortable because I didn’t know how it would stop and I could get away.”  

“I was having all these photos taken with me holding a pint, as if I was advertising Cornish ales.”  

“But I absolutely love it. I love filming when the crowds are around because I love theatre, so that’s great for me. What’s not to like about people coming up to you. I’m lucky enough to be doing a role people love.”  

“Filming this time has been even more fun, and has showed me how much I love Port Isaac, and how lucky I am. People love Port Isaac and I have this connection with it and probably will for a few years after it finishes. My kids have grown up having their holidays here. I like the character and as each series has gone on I have got better and better scripts, and funnier, and funnier stuff, as the writers and producers have seen what I do. I have a real freedom from producers and directors to add my own bits.” 


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