Martin Clunes: 'Why I prefer foggy village to Port Isaac'
Martin Clunes has spoken of his love for a close-knit community in Cornwall.
Surprisingly, it's not Port Isaac, the setting for his globally popular TV series Doc Martin, but the not-quite-so- picturesque village of Delabole that has stolen his heart.
Unlike the majority of cast and crew, the TV star stays in the nearby village during the four-month shoot.
"I need to be tucked away, I have so many lines to learn," he said. He's usually joined by his wife and daughter Emily, along with her pony, during the school holidays.
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"It's not picturesque like Port Isaac and it gets a lot of fog and rain, but I love Delabole," he said. "I've never seen such a close-knit community."
However, he admits to being disliked by some in the area, who take umbrage at the filming.
"For the last five or six years I felt semi-loathed when I was in the area," the actor reveals. "You know, people trying to extort money from us in one way or another, or very public displays of public dissatisfaction with us."
But he insisted he and his wife Philippa Braithwaite, who is one of the show's producers, and the rest of the Doc Martin team had always tried to be sensitive about shooting in such a small village. "It's one of the reasons we don't film it every year," he said.
Clunes, 51, has told how he had to adjust his wardrobe for the latest series after he lost a stone in weight after catching a virus.
He told the Radio Times: "They had to remake my wardrobe to fit."
Asked whether Clunes, who plays doctor Martin Ellingham on the show, diagnosed his own illness, his wife said: "He thinks so."
The former Men Behaving Badly star admitted: "I'm all over it. I'm always interested in people's treatments. I ask them, 'What did they prescribe you?' I love it when I get an operation – I even got to wear scrubs this season. I felt so heroic.
"It's not so interesting when a lawyer gets a criminal off, but when a doctor fixes someone's brain..."
And despite the sometimes frosty reception, he was touched that some of the Port Isaac locals let him know he'd been missed. "Your detractors are usually more vocal than your allies, aren't they, but people have been so sweet saying that they're pleased I'm well again," he said.
Braithwaite told the magazine that the hit show, which launched in 2004 and is sold abroad, would struglle to get commissioned now.
She said: "I said to ITV recently, I don't think if we brought them Doc Martin now, they'd commission it, and they said they probably wouldn't know what it was. When we launched there was Cold Feet, William and Mary, Life Begins... but now, there's almost nothing like it.
"They'd like us to do more, but it wouldn't be good if we did it every year."