Filming Begins on 'Doc Martin' Season 9 – Will It Be the Series’ Last?

Martin Clunes as Martin Ellingham in "Doc Martin" Season 8 (Photo: ITV)
Martin Clunes as Martin Ellingham in "Doc Martin" Season 8 (Photo: ITV)

It’s official: Filming is under way on Season 9 of Doc Martin! And it may or may not be the series’ last.

ITV announced that the production has commenced on the ninth season of the popular comedy series, with Martin Clunes returning as the cantankerous, irascible Martin Ellingham.

All the series’ major cast members are returning, and have returned to Cornwall’s picturesque Port Isaac to start filming the new run of eight episodes. That includes Caroline Catz as Martin’s wife Louisa, who has recently resigned her job as headmistress at the local school to take up a new career in child counseling.

Dame Eileen Aitkins also returns as Martin’s Aunt Ruth, along with Ian McNeice, Joe Absolom, John Marquez, Jessica Ransom and Selina Cadwell.

Theoretically, Season 9 is slated to be our final trip to Portwenn – and has been for some time. The folks behind Doc Martin announced that the ninth season would be the series’ last way back in 2017, and we’ve all been basically expecting it ever since. 

Yet, Clunes is apparently maybe open to doing more episodes now? Possibly? It’s at least what Deadline says.

In season nine, the Doc’s career is hanging in the balance. His future as a GP is under scrutiny from the General Medical Council following complaints about his irascible approach to patients. It’s not clear whether season nine is the final season of the Buffalo Pictures-produced drama but Clunes has hinted that he hopes to return for more episodes

Personally, I’m a little skeptical about this – for a couple of reasons. One, while the show has improved significantly since Season 7 where pretty much everyone was miserable and mean, it’s not clear how many more stories we can really tell about these characters. There’s a certain level of finality and closure to the idea that Season 9 will finally force Martin to confront his – quite frankly awful – professional demeanor toward people who are literally paying him to treat them, and it feels like a genuine step forward for him as a character. But, should he somehow learn how to be a less cranky and rude doctor, wouldn’t that sort of necessitate the end of the show?

It’s kind of his thing, after all.

But, it sounds like Clunes is perhaps open to it, and the show’s such a big hit all over the world that there’s no way ITV and Acorn won’t do a tenth season if their star is willing.

“We love going to Cornwall to make Doc Martin, and we miss it when we are not there,” Clunes said. “The county is so beautiful, and the people have been so warm and welcoming to us.  It is the best job in television.”   

But, Clunes has also been busy spreading his wings into different kinds of roles in recent years, taking on parts in period dramas like Vanity Fair and Arthur & George, and the recent crime drama Manhunt. It’s equally possible that he might just want to do something else after all this time.

Basically, this is a lot of words to say: We’re going to have to wait and see. But, if it makes anyone feel better, I think Season 10 seems a lot more possible than it did just a few months ago.

Season 9 will likely air in the U.K. later this year, with an American public television broadcast sometime in 2020.

Are you excited for more Doc Martin? Would you prefer the show wrapped up after Season 9 or continued onward? Let’s discuss in the comments!