STOP THE PRESSES

I can’t bury the lead…MARTIN ELLINGHAM SAID, AND I QUOTE, “I’M GLAD I’M HERE.”

The question we’ve been trying to answer for years has now been settled: Martin CAN be happy, and is, in Portwenn. They included enough evidence in this episode that he wants to stay in Portwenn that for me they have resolved that issue. As in S7 when Louisa was regularly reminding people in the village that she was now Mrs. Ellingham despite their marital woes, Martin notes several times in this episode that he plans to stay in Portwenn.

Not only that but he can still perform vascular surgery, and does in Portwenn, with a knife, in the ballroom!!

As has been occurring throughout S8, despite being told to suspend his medical practice, ME comes to the rescue several times and diagnoses some rare conditions. The coup de gras comes when he saves the necrosing hand of an artist, demonstrating he can function at a very high level while presented with a lot of blood and under great stress. If there was ever any doubt that his medical knowledge and skills were not up to snuff, those reservations were dashed to smithereens (pun intended).

Now, as for the blood phobia. Any medical board would require that a doctor who has a compromising condition seek therapy. In his case, as in the case of Gregory House, he is an outstanding physician whose infirmity does not interfere with his extraordinary ability as a doctor. Because the board can’t just overlook this matter, these doctors are forced to submit to the authorities and prove they are at least trying to overcome their vulnerabilities. Must he cure his blood phobia to satisfy them? Generally a good faith effort to deal with the problem whether it’s a phobia or an addiction will convince the board that the doctor has been properly diligent about the matter, especially since there is no doubt that these doctors are critical to the health and well-being of their patients.

Will Martin Ellingham cure his blood phobia? I think we all agree that we won’t be witness to much therapy, and I seriously doubt Louisa is going to be the answer to his problem. We might just return to the show and the lives of this couple after he has sought help and reduced, if not eliminated, his phobia. This is really the one area they leave in suspense for the next series. (I want to include a caveat here that this group of writers and producers has been known to feign in one direction and take us in another. There is always a chance that what we see as a likely future plan may end up being a deliberate misdirection. For example, I thought S6 had to begin with the wedding and I enjoyed the humor in E1 tremendously. I expected the rest of the series to continue the humor. Boy was I wrong about that!)

During this last episode of S8 we did see the more typical Jack Lothian script. As in a number of previous series, Ruth, Penhale, and Louisa are all in attendance during the final minutes of the episode. Ruth is there to provide advice and further the action, Penhale enters to demonstrate his allegiance to the doc and as the person who both causes some of the problems and helps solve them, and Louisa is there, of course, because she is his trusted companion (and she needs to get his medical bag).

We finally get a scene in which Martin spends some time with James. As in the charming scene in S5 when James is a baby and Martin reads his medical journal to him, in this episode, Martin explains the origins of stethoscopes to James while allowing him to wear a stethoscope. And James is actually allowed to stand up! He still hasn’t spoken another word, but we’re making progress!

Viewers’ wish for some romance comes when Chris Parsons tries to kiss Louisa and Beth Traywick makes advances toward Martin. They are both still desirable to others if not particularly affection inducing to each other. We could also postulate that now that they are able to converse with each other, that has supplanted the kissing. (Lothian does include one conversation that is interrupted as a throwback.)

I, for one, have found these occasions when Martin is the object of desire by various women to be excessive and unnecessary. I suppose they could be a nod to the experience doctors often have with patients. The disparagement of America is ok, and Beth ultimately does protect Sally and treat her very nicely under the circumstances, assertiveness training aside. Their catfights are somewhat amusing, although nothing close to the ones in Dynasty.

This episode was much more along the lines of what we’ve come to expect from good writers and actors. They found something for everyone to do and they found a way to end the series on a good note for this couple.

[I still may have a few more posts in my future. I look forward to hearing from you all!]

65 thoughts on “STOP THE PRESSES

  1. Amy

    I was also very pleased by this episode. It was exactly what I’d hoped to see in this final episode of the penultimate season—-Martin and Louisa actually connecting (if not kissing) and Martin having to come to grips with his hemophobia. Why they couldn’t have shown better communication between Martin and Louisa in the first six episodes still annoys me, but in E7 and E8 we actually see how in sync they are and how committed they are to each other. Mostly it was through the looks on their faces, and these actors do such a marvelous job of using their eyes to communicate their feelings.

    Can you identify which clues you saw that Martin was happy to stay in Portwenn aside from in the last two scenes when he asks what “we have to do to stay here” and his statement to Louisa in the last scene that he wants to be there. (As an aside, I loved that he used the pronoun “we,” showing that he knew that wherever he went, Louisa was coming with him.) What else gave you that impression?

    I loved that scene with JH. I wonder whether we will see the same “actors” in two years or whether they will have to replace them with younger boys. I guess it depends on how much time will pass between S8 and S9 and also on how much they want us to suspend disbelief.

    You’re right that they could throw a real curveball in S9, but I doubt it. They need to wind up the series on a high note, and having Martin cured and Louisa happy is where I believe they will end. In fact, I am feeling pretty good at prognostication right now as S8 ended just as I had thought—with Martin finally having to work on curing himself of his phobia and Louisa standing by his side as his partner. Here was my earlier prediction after E7: “Martin has to go for therapy to deal with his blood phobia. That sets up S9 as the opportunity to address all his underlying issues and have the series end on an uplifting note that he is now “cured” and a happier person. We get to see how this brings him closer to Louisa and content with his life. …. The blood phobia was the engine that got the show started and I think that’s where it will end. With DM cured and accepting life in Portwenn with his lovely wife and child.”

    I am still hoping that that’s what happens in S9.

  2. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    One other place is when he’s speaking to Beth Traywick as he lunches with Chris Parsons. She suggests he move to America and he answers “I’m fine where I am, thank you.”

    Your prediction is plausible, except I still wonder how much they’ll address the underlying causes and how close to a “cure” they get. But I would definitely agree that the show will end with them in Portwenn and being content with their lives.

  3. Amy

    Ah, yes—though I interpreted that to mean in England as opposed to America. I did enjoy all the gentle knocks at Americans. Are we really that much more aggressive than the English?

    Well, we probably won’t see him address those other issues explicitly because, like you, I don’t think they will show us his therapy sessions. And I don’t think he will become an open and warm smiley guy. Still stiff and rude, but not as harsh. Perhaps more like what he was like in S1. But given that Louisa is studying psychology and that she is clearly concerned about JH’s social development, it may come up indirectly as it already has this season.

  4. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Boy that’s an open question! I personally don’t think so. Just as many British folk were pushing and shoving for position while watching the filming, for example. On the sort of larger picture, there seem to be just as many scandals and sexual harassment examples as here, especially considering UK is much smaller than America. I think there are stereotypes that don’t really apply. They’re just getting their jabs in so they can use Sigourney Weaver’s appearance, which I’m sure you know.

  5. Amy

    Well, Beth Traywick certainly was played as that stereotype. I did find it surprising that Martin let her bend his ear and then ordered a blood test for her when he was turning away others including Potter with the huge bump. But I guess that’s the writers’ privilege to be inconsistent.

  6. Judy

    I’m thinking of a scenario where Martin will go to London with Louisa and James Henry and will become the top surgeon once again and that he always was and that Louisa will become a good child therapist where there may be more children needing the kind of therapy she can provide. James Henry will be exposed to so many more opportunities to develop his social and intellectual abilities and they all live happily after! Port Wenn will get a new GP who will blend in much better with the tow n folk.

  7. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Well you have certainly created a very alternative scenario from what we’ve had! Anything is possible, but I would find it hard to imagine them leaving Portwenn. Not only has Martin been noting that he is glad to be there now, but also the town is a place where none of the primary characters have ever left; where he has been embraced now and they are as close to family as he’ll every have despite his disdain for them at times; and where people have come to admire his skills as a doctor and accepted his idiosyncrasies. Furthermore, the production team always places Portwenn as a character in the show. It would be very hard to separate from this character at this point in the story.

    It seems to me that his ability to practice medicine fairly autonomously appeals to him. He may not be in a prestigious location, but in Portwenn he can do all sorts of procedures. Doctors thrive on variety, and he is running a practice where the range of illnesses and difficult cases seems endlessly mutable. He uses his surgical skills frequently and keeps abreast of all sorts of other conditions. I think he’s quite stretched by this GP practice.

    What they might do with JH when he is school age may never come up again. Or the subject of sending him away to school may end up as a topic of an episode. If he is only 2 or 3, I would guess they could avoid that topic entirely.

    But anything is on the table, and that’s how they want it for the next two years.

  8. Elle

    Minor point…JH did stand in another episode while watching Louisa wrestle Buddy for the amber beads. He was mildly engaged as he watched her, than Buddy, than the floor. His “trusted companion” Louisa. Ugh, its come to that and oh, yes, she fetched the bag.

    Martin’s question “what do I have to do” is what I heard, not “we”and didn’t Professor Langan tell him that he would monitor him and expected to see improvements and soon. How the writers address this (or will they) in the next opener is the question.

    “I’m glad I’m here” replaced the kiss of Episode 7/7. Louisa looked relieved and pleased. More interesting to me is that any of us are even speculating about Series 9. Doc Martin has gone from “must see TV’ to a mild amusement. The best days are far, far behind them.

  9. Amy

    You might be right that it was I, not we—-I guess we hear what we want to hear. And I like the way I heard it (even if it’s wrong).

  10. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    You’re right that James stood one other time. I would have thought they could have had some scenes in which he walked hand and hand with Martin or Louisa, even if just in the house, but maybe the child actors were not cooperating. Based on various sources my impression is they had a tough time with those boys and assumed it was their age. Of course, they decided to use that age so I guess they didn’t figure out the best age to settle on.

    They way you read “trusted companion” is how I think they presented her in this series. She has come to be the person he listens to the most even though S7 showed them at odds a lot. My view is that they used S8 to demonstrate how their marriage has built up trust between these two. It wasn’t necessary for them to remove the passion from their marriage, but the little comment from Sally to Martin in E8 about whether his wife is meeting his emotional and physical needs is probably thrown in to make clear that they are aware that the physical has been removed from this series. In having Sally say it they get the message through while also having a laughable moment. I mentioned the bag because she was the one to fetch his bag at least three times during this series. She’s done it before, of course, but here she’s like Robin to Batman. Penhale always calls his relationship with Martin “the dynamic duo,” a phrase directly out of Batman and Robin. Really Louisa is closest to Robin in this series.

    You’re onto something when you say that it’s curious that we are speculating about S9 already. There was so little that inspired me to write in S8, or seems to have been a source of discussion for anyone, that the role the blood phobia will play in S9 is about the only thing that has spurred anyone to comment. No matter how much we try to turn E8 into a better example of this show’s previous level of writing, it was too late in the series to have mattered much, unfortunately.

  11. Elle

    Yes, the bag. Good point. I had forgotten. Robin, now that is a funny image to chew on.

    His most trusted, I think is, Ruth. He has told her things we must assume he has not told Louisa. We must because he hasn’t said them on camera. In S 6, 7, and in 8 he has revealed what I would describe as his deepest thoughts and truest feelings – all to Ruth. I don’t know why but I feel a little disheartened by it.

  12. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I just listened to what Martin asks and he does say “what to I have to do to stay here?” He is clearly thinking about Louisa as he keeps looking over at her as he speaks to Dr. L. I find this reminiscent of when he tells Louisa in S5 that he wants to stay in Portwenn because she’s there. Like Lothian does at other times, he is referring back to a previous scene to reinforce the current one. I think that adds to my theory that they will be staying in Portwenn. He wants to stay because he’s fine where he is, he’s glad to be there, and he believes Louisa wants to live in Portwenn. He’s been doing everything he can to please Louisa throughout this episode and we should not be surprised that her happiness is still paramount to him.

  13. Amy

    There were a few times in this episode where the past was evoked—Beth Traywick remembering that she had given Morwenna the self-help book, Mrs T alluding to her past insanity, the ganglion cyst being hit by a book, and one other from Al that I am blanking on at the moment. That added depth to the episode, making the viewer feel that they were in on all the old stories.

    So if indeed that line said by Mrs T about meeting Martin’s physical needs was supposed to allude to the lack of physical contact in S8, what were the writers thinking? Why not have some small physical contact? Why did they make such a deliberate choice to have absolutely no physical contact except for the two pecks on the cheek? What was the reason for that decision, do you suppose?

    It’f funny how I misheard that line—twice! I did go back this morning to that scene and watched with captions, and he does say “I.” But I think both times I was focused on how he was looking at Louisa, and my brain heard it differently.

    FWIW, I’ve had some experience with EMDR—it helped me get over (for the most part) my phobia about flying. So I think Louisa actually had a good idea there.

  14. Santa Traugott

    I had begun to think that some of the repeats were deliberate, which does add a sense of “familiarity” as Amy remarks, but certainly not freshness or originality.

    The ganglion has shown up THREE times — at the end of S4, when Martin is moving, and in S7, with older Peter Kronk, and now in S8.

    I concur with Amy in wondering what the writers were thinking about no signs of physical affection. I agree with those who said that there were many subtle clues that their marriage was back on track and they seem to be getting along better and have a degree of trust and vulnerability in their relationship. But the decision to withhold any signs of physical affection has to be deliberate and I would love to know the reason. I wonder if it’s possible that they really just like to frustrate their loyal viewers. We remember Martin’s remarks early on that “it’s not that kind of show” in defense of the failed wedding, happy endings, etc., and possibly this is of a piece with that. It’s almost like they said, we’re not going to give you what you want, or, if we have to, you’ll wish we hadn’t; then relented, but gave us as little as possible. But besides that bit of paranoia, I’m at a loss as to what is going on here.

    I agree with Elle that it’s a little disconcerting that he seems more likely to open up to Aunt Ruth than to Louisa, but perhaps with Louisa, there’s always an element of being a little on guard, a little defensiveness. Ruth is perhaps the one person he’s completely sure of.

    I wish for their own sake that they’d move the story ahead a few years, with Martin’s phobia in remission, Louisa having her own practice, or perhaps employed by NHS, and with in general a new plot line. But if they don’t do that, I think we may well see some sort of choice point with respect to Martin’s career– if his blood phobia is really resolved, other avenues open up.

  15. Amy

    Santa, if they resolved all the problems (hemophobia, marital issues, Louisa’s career) before the season started, what would the show be about? Where would the conflict and drama be? Would it just turn into a medical show where the superhero doctor swoops in to save lives? Or a comedy like Newhart where different wacky characters show up all the time?

    As much as I love the show, I’d really hate to see it turn into either of those options. I found too many episodes this year rather hum-drum because they were too much like that. They do not seem to want to make conflicts between M & L that are funny and warm. Instead, they found humor in the other characters (sort of) and almost nothing funny or interesting between M & L until the very end.

    As I’ve written earlier, my hope is that s9 IS the end and that it has a dramatic arc where we see Martin at first struggling to cure his hemophobia, leading to some humor and some closeness with Louisa, and then a finale where all is well and they snuggle up together in Portwenn. A little more affection between them along the way, and I think most (non-fanatic Clunatics) will be happy to have it all tied up.

  16. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I have no more idea than any of you why they removed most of the affection between Martin and Louisa. I am inclined to agree with you, Santa, that they did it to frustrate the viewers whose fan fiction and posted pictures are often about more sex and overt signs of affection. I wish I had a nickel for every time someone posts a picture on Facebook from the show of Martin and Louisa kissing.

    Another explanation could be that they are deliberately making it clear that this is a chaste story where Louisa closes the door (literally) to any public displays of affection. The only problem with that is that we used to see them in bed fairly frequently, especially in S5, and they weren’t doing anything sexual but they acted loving towards each other. Maybe they think the having a child means the parents stop having sex? But there is no reason for Martin to stand rigidly while Louisa kisses him. And holding hands wouldn’t be a problem either.

    In fact, it used to be Martin who would lean in to give Louisa a kiss. Also, as I mentioned once before, the suggestion made by Dr. Timoney that they have physical contact more regularly seems to be something neither of them has taken to heart. Louisa knows Martin is upset about his hearing, shows concern, but resists hugging him; Martin sees her get close to tears about her computer not functioning and doesn’t rub her cheek or shoulder or do anything calming. Chris was there, but is that really enough to keep him from doing something physically tender?

    The only explanation that makes any sense to me is that there was a deliberate decision to take all physical affection out of this series. Other than my speculation that their complete conversations were supposed to take the place of the affection, I have no idea why.

    I have to ask you a question though. What other avenues for Martin would open up if he resolved his blood phobia? I see him doing a broad range of procedures including surgery right there in his clinic in Portwenn. He’s released a strangulated umbilical hernia in Louisa’s mother, he took a biopsy of Ruth’s temporal artery, and in this series he did some very complicated vein and artery procedure so that the blood would flow again to a necrosing hand. He’s done many other treatments besides these, quite often ones that are very extraordinary and require his innovative thinking. This small village has challenged his medical knowledge and skills over and over. It seems to me he would be feeling incredibly fulfilled to continue the practice there. He receives quite a few expressions of appreciation, is a major figure in the town, and has a life where he doesn’t have to interact with people unless he chooses to. What could he find better than that? Recognition and awards? Higher pay? The reason for wanting to move escapes me.

  17. Amy

    I agree—they won’t leave Portwenn. And I don’t think his blood phobia will be cured before the season starts. It seems to me, going back to Santa’s hero quest comment the other day, that Martin hasn’t finished his quest yet, and once he does, the show is over. There has to be some point to Dr L telling him he needs to change (and I don’t know if he also meant in terms of bedside manner); if they make that change too easy or it occurs before the season starts, they’ve really gutted what is left of the story that makes the show interesting.

    Karen, I think we agree, no?

  18. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I think we do agree for the most part. I am not so much into the hero quest, but I do expect them to pick up pretty close to where they last left off. I think they will start with him having begun some sort of therapy or treatment plan, with Louisa still unsure of what she wants to do with her future, and with their relationship hopefully closer and having some romance, but nothing too demonstrative. Hopefully James will be doing more talking and walking and that might infuse the show with some additional humor.

    Now that we’ve said all this, I feel a bit worried that somehow they will surprise us. Still, I will be taken aback if they go as far as Santa proposes even though their aging is beginning to be a factor.

  19. Jan Chester

    I found season 8 to be bland, without inspired writing of any kind. The relationship between Martin and Louisa seemed to have a stiffness with no release due to the total lack of any affection what so ever. It’s almost as if the writers are thinking “oh well, it’s almost over. Get it done so we can move on.” It makes me sad. The first seasons, especially 1-6 were clever, thoughtful, and well done. 7 was somewhat weaker but 8 was just disappointing. It was so looked forward to by many. There was no thread leading us through. There was no show of love between the two main characters. It wasn’t the acting that seemed weak,although some of my favorite people seemed under used. I actually thought the acting was wonderful considering the writing they were given to work with. If the writing had been more inspired, it wouldn’t matter that some of the same themes repeat themselves. That is actually what most of us contend with in life.
    Much of the show has been about Martin and Louisa, . It would have been nice to have had the writers now develop that relationship into the marriage as a loving, caring, somewhat affectionate union. alt Although Martin struggles, Loisa has always been warm and loving. She could be leading him into a more comfortable Husband /Wife relationship. However, They have removed some of her warmth and have given us a rather cold union. Sad. All one can hope is that the writers find their inspiration and give us a season9 worthy of the first 6 seasons of this once delightful show.

  20. Santa Traugott

    Well, I really only suggest this because their aging IS a factor, in my view. Setting the series a few years further on would make that less distracting, I think.

    I don’t think the resolution or not of the blood phobia is much of a story arc for series 9, at least compared to the dramatic tension of will they -won’t they. And it’s hard to see them doing much out of Portwenn. And short of leaving Portwenn, it’s hard to see what avenues would open for them, in the series. So I guess I take that back.

    I could imagine them buying a larger house;; Louisa has a practice there, Martin continues his practice in the surgery, adding a locum, an assistant, so some badly needed new characters. But, I think they probably already have it plotted out. We may get a few hints over the winter.

  21. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    At least as far as this blog is concerned, you have joined the crowd. The only threads I have noted are the decision by Louisa to consider changing jobs and Martin’s continued blood phobia. IMO they chose to take advantage of very few of the many opportunities to do more with the effort by Louisa to take classes. The blood phobia pretty much went along as usual until E7 when he faints while treating the grumpy solicitor/rower. This was one of the very rare occasions when he’s fainted. As in the hearing, he usually vomits after the procedure is completed and who cares about that? I’ve acknowledged that it makes sense for the medical board to want him to get treatment now that it’s been brought to their attention, but it almost never interferes with him doing an excellent job.

    But I agree that the writing was subpar and there were too many episodes in which there were too much and too varied action. It seemed disjointed and chaotic and not very well planned. As you imply, it often seemed like the episodes had no purpose and didn’t lead anywhere. It was not the best effort from this production company.

  22. Jan Chester

    Ahh thank you. I wouldn’t want to take away anyone’s enjoyment of the show and inspire of all this, I am looking forward to season 9. You describe it exactly when you say disjointed and chaotic.

    I have only participated in the discussion one other time, but I have very much enjoyed this blog. So once again, thank you.

  23. Dale Marie

    I agree with much of what has been said about the writing and the lack of focus of this season. The consensus does seem to be that in S 9 Martin and Louise will stay in Portwenn. I agree with that. When Louisa returned from London in S 4 she did say that she did not like London. Martin wants Louisa to be happy and a move out of Portwenn would not accomplish that. Also as Karen has said Martin has encountered a variety challenging illnesses and has done many surgical procedures in his office or while out on calls and this probably satisfies him intellectually. My goodness he recently camped off Trevor the thieving butcher’s punctured femoral artery in his barn.

    I think that Martin would be satisfied with the practice he has and he did say that he wants to be in Portwenn. Ruth also pointed out to Prof. L after the recent procedure that Martin had saved a man’s life and it was something that he did on a regular basis. I think this reinforces something Ruth told Martin way back in S 5 E 2: She said, “I never thought you would do serious medicine again. It makes me very proud.” Martin trusts Ruth’s opinion.

    Although there are no affectionate jestures between Martin and Louisa I have, like Santa, noticed the “subtle clues that their marriage was back on track.” The dinner preparations, the little talks at the end of the day, seemed to have been substituted for overt affectionate gestures.

    There was one rather touching moment at the end of E 6 after Tina’s panic attack when Martin and Louisa were sanding side by side, with their bodies actually touching, as they watched Tina get into her taxi, when Martin looked down at Louisa and quietly asked her if she was alright. This was the first time I remember them touching since Dr. Timoney told them to. He did spoil the moment, as usual, by saying that a panic attach is the result of people taking on too much.

    In E 8 Louise did recognize that Martin was worried about the hearing and sent him off to buy a fish so he would be distracted. It also got him out of her hair while she was working. I did notice that Louisa has sone influence in helping modify Martin’s blood phobia reactions. During the procedure in the hotel, Martin seemed to be about to vomit during the procedure and Louisa came up next to him and asked if she could help. As Martin look at her face he visibly calmed down and then told her that he was fine.

    I am willing to give the writers, especially Jack Lothian, the benefit of the doubt and I hope that they will tie up all the loose ends in S 9 in clever ways and with better writing than this season. Just call me Pollyanna. No matter what I will be still be looking forward to S 9. I don’t like loose ends.

    BTW Karen to only other time Martin reacted to blood other than with vomiting was in E 4 of this season when he was treating Dan on the sea wall. Remember, he started to faint and would have fallen off the wall had Dan not caught him and yanked him back.

  24. Elle

    In an interview this past spring, Martin explains their focus on a working relationship, exploring new territory, yet didn’t have to concern themselves with the “lovey-dovey” aspect of marriage He has also referred to the coupling as the “monster” in S 6 interview, We know that the “love story” grew beyond expectations. Do they resent that DM became the Martin and Louisa show and are now pulling back. Santa’s point about grudgingly giving the fans what they wanted and likely the case of “be careful what you wish for…”

    Dale recounts the closeness of the two outside the surgery with Tina. Martin quickly took his arm and put it behind his back. A subtle message of restraint but not as fixed and unwavering as Louisa closing that blasted door.

    Episode 8 was good on re-watch. Good flow and the supporting characters were at their best. I would like to
    see LE finish her course study as Martin continues as GP with an offer to teach, instruct at a local college.

  25. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thanks for your input Elle. What I think may be the case is that they may not be fully conscious of the fact of how many viewers watch this show with a close eye to all sorts of detail. By now we would expect them to know that, but I have to wonder if they place an emphasis on finding ways to include all the characters, have some drama and some humor, and lose sight of the way the series flows within and between each episode.

    But the lack of physical affection between Martin and Louisa has to have been deliberate, as you and so many of us have noticed.

    Your idea of having Martin teach could go either way. He has a lot of knowledge to impart, but would have no patience with students and no ability to tolerate mistakes of any kind. He’d probably think every student was insufficient in some way.

    This may sound crazy, but I could even imagine Louisa deciding that becoming a child therapist is really not for her. She might end up right back at Portwenn’s primary school just as she’s done in the past. They’ve also tried replacing Martin with another doctor and that ended with him having trouble with the doctor’s competency and staying. They do repeat themselves!

  26. Amy

    Was anyone else bothered by the fact that although Martin and Louisa arrived at the hearing separately, presumably in their own cars since Louisa now has one, they left in one car? I guess we could say Louisa arrived by taxi (not with Tommy though), but it just struck me as a small lack of continuity in the plot.

    And where was Ruth in the final scene in the hotel/restaurant? Are we supposed to think she left with Joe and the potter?

    I guess I am up to the nitpicking stage of my analysis.

    In response to Elle’s comment, if they are in fact annoyed that the love story took over the show, they are being awfully stupid since without that love story, the show would never have lasted for eight seasons. Why bite the hand that feeds you? Are they now punishing their viewers for preferring the love story to the fish out of water/doctor with a blood phobia theme and thus stripping the love from the story? That seems awfully arrogant to me.

  27. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Dale, I mentioned in another recent post that he fainted when Edith was with him in S4. She had brought a bloody organ for him to dissect and he blacked out. She, in her own blunt manner, leaned over him and said he still had a lot of work to do.

    The scene on the wall was a very brief close call. Although he looked like he might faint, he recovered almost immediately. If he had been about to actually lose consciousness, there’s no way that young man could have stopped him from falling by just grabbing him with one hand. I consider that scene a foreshadowing for the later scene in his examining room. We haven’t witnessed a fainting spell in many series and the scene on the wall sets up the possibility that fainting is back on the table.

  28. Amy

    Karen, our comments must have crossed in cyberspace. I find it hard to believe the writers are not conscious of that fact that their viewers are primarily focused on the love story. Every season ended with some cliffhanger about their relationship or some resolution of a conflict in their relationship—starting with S1. They teased us each season. How could they think that the main draw of the show was anything but the love story?

  29. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thank you Jan. It’s nice to know you’ve been reading the blog. Please join the discussion more often!

  30. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Amy, I think our comments did cross! You know I absolutely agree that their argument that they never expected the love story to be so significant is poppycock (to put it politely). From the first scene of the first episode of the first series they have placed Martin and Louisa in oppositional roles. We know very early on that he is attracted to her and that she is to him. If that wasn’t the plan all along, then why did they make it so obvious and prominent?

    I totally agree that this relationship has been the reason why most viewers have become so dedicated to the show, and it has provided endless options for them in terms of writing and addressing all sorts of topics. It may be true that Caroline Catz’s exceptional performance as Louisa made them decide to enlarge that part of the story, but it was always there.

    No, they can’t convince me that they were blindsided by how important the love and frustration interaction became.

  31. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Isn’t the car business another example of how quickly they dropped so many things throughout this series. In this case, Louisa buys a car and we never see it again. It places the car purchasing part of the story in the role of a humorous side event due to the interaction inside the small car and as evidence that Louisa is exercising her ability to make decisions. Nothing else.

    How Ruth came to the hotel and how she plans to get home are simply unimportant, IMO. That is in the position of gaps that don’t need to be filmed.

  32. Amy

    Regarding Ruth, it seems out of character that she would have left before finding out the outcome of the hearing. I don’t care how she got there or how she left—it’s that she left before knowing what was going to happen to Martin that bothers me.

    I just rewatched the first episode of S8. In that episode, Ruth makes a comment to Martin about how the transition period after therapy can be difficult. (That leads to him allowing her to keep Buddy.) I am wondering whether that is why the writers kept a certain distance between the characters throughout the series until the end when they realize they are in fact now on the same page. Am I giving them too much credit?

    I think the other theme that runs through S8 is Louisa’s concern about James’ social development. That is why Louisa wants Buddy. I am wondering whether the writers had to do some rewriting of the scenes involving JH due to the difficulties they had with the twins. Interestingly, in watching E1, the child playing James was much more relaxed seeming and more willing to interact with the other actors. Maybe over time he/they just got fed up with the whole routine. Perhaps we were supposed to see more interaction among JH and his parents.

    Anyway, I figured I will rewatch the episodes to see if things show up that I didn’t notice first time through.

  33. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Oh! You’re right that it seemed that Ruth wasn’t around when Martin was told what they expected him to do now. I didn’t think about that and, now that you mention it, I’m betting that either that was an oversight, they had to edit out some stuff and that was lost, or they considered it too insignificant to worry about. Their treatment of Ruth in this series was pretty tangential to me. She does have that scene in the first episode, and she figures importantly in E2, but generally she’s absent a lot. Again they seem to address that by having her ask Martin why he didn’t come to see her when his blood phobia started to act up. It seems like they recognize when they have set aside certain parts of the story and acknowledge them by having a character bring them up. It’s kind of fascinating that they do that rather than finding a way to incorporate those ideas into the story. I think time limitations have a lot to do with that, but it’s weird sometimes.

    Your theory of why Martin and Louisa didn’t show much physical affection is possible. I just have to wonder why a couple that would share a passionate and fairly long kiss at the end of S7 would now find it so hard to hug now and then, or hold hands. I would still have to go with the deliberate decision to not show physical affection in this series as a means to frustrate viewers. Why they wanted to do that is something else again. Even in that final scene they don’t touch at all. Kind of unrealistic under the circumstances. Maybe they think that viewers will watch S9 hoping to see more of that again and that keeps viewers coming back for more.

  34. Amy

    I was disappointed by how limited a role Ruth played this season. She’s such a wonderful actress and Ruth has such an interesting role and personality. But it’s like a lot of things about this season—strange choices by the writers.

    I agree about the lack of physical contact—it was unrealistic. We are supposed to assume some intimacy based on the closing of the door, so it’s not like they never touch or kiss. What husband would not comfort his wife in some small physical way when she’s upset —a hug or a rub on the back? What wife would not hug her husband before and after a major career-threatening hearing? If we didn’t see affection between Al and Morwenna several times this season, I’d say they just are portraying English couples as very aloof and unaffectionate. But we do see Al and Morwenna kiss and hug and hold hands.

    The more I think about, the more annoyed I get at how we were all manipulated by the writers and producers!

  35. Jane

    Some random thoughts:
    ~MC wore a wedding band throughout the early seasons which, I for one, had to work on deliberately to ignore.
    ~Louisa was very different after her return from Spain and, to me, was no longer “herself.” I missed the early Louisa in subsequent episodes and found myself searching for signs of her.
    ~The Kiss, at the end of S7, was disappointing from my perspective. It came across as two actors saying their lines and felt as though a magic spell had been broken. Perhaps I am alone in this reaction.

    I suppose if there is any thread to these thoughts it would be to perhaps underscore previous comments suggesting clues of an underlying ambivalence about the relationship of M and L. And I can only say, what a shame!

  36. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    On the subject of age…the Facebook videos abound lately and the one where Louisa gives birth, ostensibly only 18 months ago, is a good example of how much everyone has aged. Penhale has very dark hair which has now turned very grey, Martin’s hair is much less grey too and he has far fewer wrinkles and loose skin, and Al looks much younger and has more hair. Louisa isn’t as changed, but she has a more mature appearance now. They really can’t keep up this charade much longer.

    I hope they have things plotted out, but they have plenty of time to rethink and rewrite before the next filming period.

  37. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Good to hear from you Jane. That ring has been the subject of some discussions, but not on this blog. It was hard not to wonder about it and some people have the notion that he wears it because it is his actual wedding ring and he has some sort of hang up about taking it off. I don’t know much about that. All I know is actors change all sorts of things about themselves when in various roles and we would have to guess that if he was asked to take it off, he would have. Or, because they became the producers of the show, they did whatever they liked and didn’t worry about what others were thinking.

    I would have to assume that CC played the role of Louisa as harsher and less lighthearted in S7 because the directors and she thought she should project being wary about giving in too soon. I had argued during S7 that she and Martin sort of switched personalities. She became the brusque and repressed person while he tried to open himself up more and be more conciliatory. That was my attempt at explaining why she became a “different” person.

    I am pretty cynical, but your reaction to The Kiss is stronger than I have seen anywhere. I had trouble with the final scene in terms of what they said to each other, but had thought their kiss a natural consequence of her change of heart. She won’t leave without him, she wants him to come home with her, she accepts that he’s unusual and that she is too. Let’s kiss and move on to a married life together. That’s why this series was so weird insofar as taking out all of the affectionate scenes of any import. That was a shame!

  38. Jane Evans

    Karen, your suggestions make logical sense for me, but not emotional sense. I am remembering when L broke up with Danny, complaining that he couldn’t decide who he was or what he wanted, and insisting that she knew who she was and what she wanted. Also, when she compared herself to Edith, being glad of her emotions, not being cold, etc. It is understandable that L would be wary, but for that attitude to continue for so long and then evolve into what we’ve seen in S8, is a huge letdown and, in my opinion, an abandonment of the carefully and beautifully developed complex personalities from the first 6 seasons. (M has felt truer to character with L, but I wonder why we wouldn’t see some subtle improvement with his patients. Though he did thank Mrs. T for filling in as receptionist and also say he (ahem) needed her in the pharmacy, and also told Morwenna “good job.”)

  39. Amy

    Although it is true that Louisa seemed warmer and lighter in the earlier seasons, she was never really all that different. She was harsh with Martin many times in those early seasons, starting with the very firs episode. I think that Louisa has always had the ability to be compassionate and empathetic, and we still see some of that in her interactions with the little girl locked in the closet and with Chris when he falls apart and also with the vet’s nephew. But Louisa also always had a certain toughness and a degree of intolerance for stupidity just as Martin does. So although she was definitely colder in S7 and more stressed in S8, I see her as the same character, perhaps just a little less naive and a little more self-assured and willing to fight for what she wants. To me, that is a believable evolution from a young single woman to a more mature career woman with a husband and child.

  40. Amy

    One thing I read somewhere about the ring is that it is his wedding ring, and until Martin married Louisa in S6, MC always wore it on his right hand but wouldn’t take it off completely. In the wedding scene, he also would not let CC put the ring on his left hand but did it himself because he did not want anyone else to put his wedding ring on the left hand ring finger besides Phillippa. Now he wears the ring on his left hand in the show.

    No clue whether this is true and no idea where I heard it.

  41. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I bet you saw that on Facebook because I saw it there a while ago. I have no idea if there is any actual evidence for this position or if it is pure speculation. It seems to me that Martin Clunes has gotten married in almost every show he’s been in. If he has such a problem with going through with the marriage ceremony, he sure hasn’t objected to being in that sort of scene very much.

  42. Amy

    Like I said, no idea if it’s true. I have never seen MC in anything else, nor have I been tempted to do so.

  43. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I can’t argue with anything you said, although we do see Louisa express concern for Martin and look honestly worried. She is a little wrapped up in her own studies and direction, but she appears genuinely grateful to him when he rescues her and genuinely distressed about the potential that he might lose his job. She goes to see Chris because of her concerns.

    They are both too restrained for us in S8. I think that’s the general problem.

  44. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    When I think about this series, the thing I found most difficult to believe was how willing to interact with Mrs. T Martin was. The idea that he would agree to have her substitute as his receptionist was very hard to accept, no matter how much he needed the help. And then she made a mess of his files, handled the phones poorly, etc. and he hardly raised his voice or told her to leave. I didn’t buy that or that he would be so accommodating towards her in the final episode. After all she’s put them through, his frustration with how much she continued to force herself on him in S7, and Mrs. T’s supposed rekindling of her love for Clive along with her mental rockiness after Clive dies, I would think Martin would keep her at arms length. What was your reaction to his behavior toward Mrs. T?

  45. Jane Evans

    The allure of this show , for so many, has been the relationship of M and L. We care about them because we can relate to them, even if at times we have to stretch as we are reminded that they are fictional. We suffer when they miscommunicate and rejoice when they connect. The foundation of human life and society is relationship. Now, suddenly, we have a relationship which, while kind and considerate, is portrayed in a surface-y way. No more “I bought a fish.”, “Everyone has to start somewhere.”, “Perhaps I’ll be ready for something new”.”If you were a stick…”, “You’d make a marvelous mother.”, “Maybe that’s why we love the Peters of this world.”, moments. Maybe they are no longer, strictly speaking, newlyweds but, considering their history, it feels to me that the writers skipped a few chapters!

  46. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Well put Jane. The great phrases and excellent monologues and dialogues are what I miss so much too, especially this series. The writing just seems to have gotten lazy when it used to be so exceptional.

  47. Amy

    Re Mrs T—I took all that as their way of conveying how far Martin had come and how far Martin and Louisa as a couple had come. I think they meant to show Martin’s ability to tolerate and even appreciate Mrs T as a sign of his acceptance of Portwenn in general and even his appreciation of some of its most annoying characters. He also allowed Joe to help him a couple of times—something I doubt he would have done in earlier seasons of the show.

    Was it somewhat unbelievable? Sure. But so is the fact that it’s only been four or five years since he came to Portwenn.

  48. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I want to give them that latitude but Martin starts the series by still yelling at patients and calling many people idiots. That doesn’t disappear as the series progresses either. As you say, a lot is hard to believe at this point!

  49. Dale Marie

    Per Mrs. T: In E 3 Ruth was very concerned for her mental health after Clive died and she seemed to not be coping. Ruth did made a special trip to the surgery to talk to Martin about Mrs. T and told him that they should all keep an eye on her Martin just responded with “should we?” After Ruth pointed out that Mrs. T was Martin’s patient he grudgingly agreed. Ruth further pointed out that they didn’t want a repeat of the incident with James Henry.

    In E 4 Ruth again went to see Mrs. T and again suggested that M go to see her. Louise expressed her concern for Mrs. T’s mental health and she also alluded to her stealing James, She also suggested a strategy for Martin to get Sally to open her door so he could speak to her. . Martin followed through on L’s suggestion and even told Mrs. T that he needed her and had to dash before she threw herself at him. Of I forgot that Burt also expressed concern for Sally.

    With everyone worrying so much about Sally and the possibility of her having another psychotic break, could this be why Martin reluctantly accepted her help? She didn’t give him much choice anyway even after he told her that her help was not needed, She told him that she would show up at 8 in the morning as she left with an actual skip in her step. This is just an idea I had and I am probably clutching at straws in an attempt to understand this series.

    In the end Sally did have to drive Martin to Trevor’s farm. Having Mrs T working at the surgery also allowed the writers to add that farcical scene with Martin, Mrs T and Penhale and the words orf/off. Curiously, in that scene, Mrs. T was more logical than Martin about explaining orf to Penhale. That was odd as part of Martin’s MO is to explain medical conditions to people using obscure and hard to pronounce terminology. Was this a way to show that Mrs. T is indeed a smart “medical professional” not just a dingbat. Why wait for S 8 to do that? It was just another one of the oddities of this series.

    There was also a repeat scene which goes back to S1 E1. Martin struggling with a deployed airbag. Logically, both bags should have deployed but Sally did seem to enjoy Martin’s struggle.

  50. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Dale, the examples you bring up are exactly why I wouldn’t expect Martin to want Mrs. T around his office/home. I can see how he would feel he has a duty to her as his patient, and he relies on her for her pharmaceutical help, but having her in his personal space is something else again. Louisa weighs in with some questions about it, but he brushes her off. From my perspective, allowing an unstable Mrs. T to help him would only mean trouble. He’d be encouraging something he wouldn’t want to deal with.

    Of course for the purposes of the show it was intended to be funny and awkward. Her driving was clearly a sign of her instability but it did give them an opportunity to use the airbag trick again. Ugh! They do go back to the well pretty regularly in this series!

    Ultimately Sally’s nuttiness is addressed by her telling Beth Traywick that she is not insane and has the certification to prove it, confirming that she has been institutionalized, and reaffirming for us the fact that she continues to be off her rocker. Plus she heads in the wrong direction when she leaves the surgery building.

  51. Elle

    Amy, if you have viewed FB or taken notice of the fans that visit PI, they are DM fans. They love the Doc, and Martin. I am not convinced that the majority of viewers watch the show for the story of ME and LE. I think BP’s emphasis will and continue to be the surgery. The show and MC especially talks about the letters he receives from medical professionals. He seems more impressed with that aspect of feedback from the fans.
    To qualify, I am not really waiting with baited breath for some action between the couple. I want more vulnerability and a little less ambivalence. LE, early in 8, showed a little affection (kiss kiss!) for him and then it went nowhere. The draw in the coupling was Martin’s raw emotion for her and his longing. He was smitten and we were, as well.
    Someone on FB made the comment that the relationship between the two had been erased. She didn’t understand why or when it happened but the story had been re-written.
    The will they, won’t they is gone. The producers might have been more right than wrong on that one.
    Selena Cadell is still a treasure.

  52. Elle

    “bated” breath not “baited” – although “baited” as in annoy or taunt is certainly applicable here!

  53. Dale Marie

    Karen you are right. Mrs. T IS too nuts to have been let loose in the surgery or in Martin’ and Louisa’s home. I don’t know what I was thinking. (Smile) I keep trying to make sense of what the producers and writers were tryin to achieve this season. I should just give up and watch the old episodes.

    I turned my 25 year old daughter, who lives in Germany, on to Doc Martin and she loves the show. She is only on S 1. Since she watches online, when she comes home for Thanksgiving we plan to binge watch as many seasons as possible. I am looking forward to discussing the show with her. It will be nice to get the perspective of a young woman who has lived in Europe for 4 years.

    She, for example, really likes the first receptionist, Elaine, who I must say that she was my least favorite character because I thought she was a caricature, My daughter assures me that she exists. She is very familiar with the Elaine character: right down to the blond dreadlocks.

    This is going to be fun. I expect that she will read the blog posts and probably write some responses herself.

  54. Cathy

    I’m having a great time reading this thread! I also heard Martin’e line at the end and thought- there it is, the big arc of the show is now complete… except no culminating kiss. I’m enjoying how the story arcs shift with each additional season, so that while season 6 was excruciating and almost unwatchable while it was unfolding, in the context of the larger story it now makes sense, or a different sense. (even if it’s still hard to watch). I believe the lack of romance in this season is a set up for the final season. In some ways, with his declaration that he’s glad he’s in Port Wenn, (I so enjoyed the way he spoke that line) we have everything, or almost everything…if there was the big romantic finish, what else would there be to say about this couple? I would say that the writers are frustrating us on purpose, or for a purpose, as they have throughout the show. I also keep in mind that the writers are all men (except in the earliest of seasons), and so they sometimes miss with Louisa’s character, and do better with the more caricatured female roles. I’m really hoping that this story gets the fitting ending that all the amazing production, acting, photography deserves.

  55. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Since you addressed your comment to Amy, I was giving her a chance to say something. But I don’t want you to think I hadn’t seen it, so I will just say that your observation that MC seems to be more interested in the medical aspects of the show is something to consider. I believe PB has also mentioned that sometimes he acts as though he is a doctor now, and he has learned a lot about medical terminology and treatments as a result of this show. However, I can’t help but think that he recognizes how significant the Martin and Louisa dynamic has been to the show. They both acknowledge that it became the reason that people were tuning in. I would have to say that because viewers are most drawn to the show to see what happens in that relationship, they continue to consider that the primary focus and are exploiting it. This series they took out the physical affection even though they are well aware that viewers want more of that. We’ll see what they do in S9. Like others I will posit that there will be more for the final series. It wouldn’t work to make them too physically affectionate; that’s just not who ME is, but we know he has it in him to want to kiss Louisa and hold her hand, or just touch her with tenderness. Even waking up in bed together and having some loving looks or something would be nice.

    I have to agree that Selina Cadell does a fabulous job as Mrs. T. I just find this character two dimensional at this point, and purely a comedic sidelight. I once compared her to Corporal Klinger in M*A*S*H*, and that’s still how I would place her here. She has a psychological disorder that has mostly been used as a way to add humor, and she exaggerates her behavior to a point where it’s impossible to take her seriously. In this series she loses her husband and is supposed to be hovering on the edge of sanity again, but then they simply move on and consider that over. What’s never over is her obsession with Martin Ellingham, and that’s run thin for me at this time.

  56. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I guess Elaines exist, but for this show she was going to have to change just as ME’s character changes after the first series. She was an obstacle to his getting accepted by the town, and she was a little too unmanageable to continue as his receptionist. The character of Pauline continued to be headstrong at times, but they toned it down with her and she became much more of an assistant to the doc. If Katherine Parkinson had stayed, I think we could imagine her becoming more of a team with ME despite some of her recalcitrance. But she’s gone on to act in many other productions.

    I always welcome more contributions to this blog. Tell your daughter to write!

  57. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thanks for writing Cathy. It’s good to know you, too, see the romance aspects of the show as having been deliberately and consciously removed. We are also on the same Lage about bringing the show to an end with a strong final series…and it should be final!

  58. Amy

    Elle, I apologize for the delay in responding. I was preparing for a big presentation, which took place last night, so DM was on the back burner. Now I am free to obsess about the show again!

    I think that the FB groups are representative of only a portion of the viewers, and yes, many of them are mostly focused on Martin Clunes and anything he does, whether in DM or elsewhere. Much as I love the show and find the relationship between M & L fascinating, I still am not sure I get the passion people have for MC—yes, he is a delightful man and cute in his endearing way, but he’s not George Clooney or Patrick Dempsey or any other more classically handsome and sexy actor.

    I believe that most of those DM fans who focus on MC are drawn to the show for the same reasons many of us are—because the character of Doc Martin (as opposed to MC) is compelling. And he is compelling not because he is a brilliant doctor or because he is rude and thus funny or because he trips and bangs his head a lot. He is compelling because of his love for Louisa and how that reveals his underlying vulnerability and softness. We feel for him and want to see him happy.

    Now I might be projecting my reactions onto all those other fans. Maybe they do watch the show only to see Martin Clunes. Maybe they would be just as interested without the love story. I can’t determine that. But I’d be willing to bet that if the show had not been focused from Day One on the will they-won’t they relationship between Martin and Louisa—if there had not been that tenderness between them, the raw emotion, the sexual tension—the show would never have lasted more than a few seasons. Maybe I am wrong. I never watched House, but I guess it had a similar Dr theme and lasted many seasons.

  59. Amy

    OK, check the trash please. I must be getting punished for my delay in responding! Long response to Elle just went nowhere.

    Cathy, I agree with what you said. I think S8 was set up to give us a big satisfying romantic conclusion in S9. I hope….

    When I think about the Elaine character, it makes me wonder about Minghella’s original views on the show. It would have been a very unpleasant show if both Elaine and DM were rude, obnoxious, aggressive characters. I don’t know whether the original actress chose to leave the show or the producers realized that if they were going to make DM a tougher character than he was in S1, they had to get rid of the abrasive receptionist, but something had to give.

  60. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    My blog does seem to give you much more trouble than anyone else. Why, I wish I knew!

    I think there is always an element of inexplicable attachment to many actors/performers. My cousin has someone in her office who absolutely adores Hugh Jackman and follows him wherever he goes. He’s become so familiar with her that he knows her name and greets her when he sees her. One of her clients adores Pink and has created merchandise to give to her. It’s a phenomenon that has all sorts of associations, and I guess you and I just don’t have that inclination.

    I think it was quite a coup for them to get Lucy Punch for S1 and not surprising that she didn’t want to stay on after that. If you look her up, you’ll see she is quite accomplished and in demand. They needed to tone down her character, but they probably knew she wasn’t planning to continue. I think she was probably looking to expand her repertoire. (I know Stephanie Cole, Ian McNeice and Eileen Atkins are outstanding actors too, but at their age they are very happy to have the opportunity to have a recurring role in a show like DM, although Stephanie decided to move on too.)

  61. Amy

    I had that kind of feeling for Paul McCartney when I was eleven, and I certainly had crushes on other celebrities when I was a teenager, but never to the point of following them around or hanging pictures in my locker or the such. I look forward to going to Port Isaac in two years because I want to see the place, want to see DM film, and want to see the actors in real life. But I doubt I will try to get a selfie with MC—I am generally too shy for that kind of encounter. I might be more inclined to talk to CC because she strikes me as similarly shy around strangers.

    I thought Lucy Punch did a great job playing Elaine. But if they had kept her character as harsh as she was, they would have had to have kept DM as relatively tame as he was in S1. It might have been interesting to see how the show would have been different. Elaine might have stolen the limelight from DM!

  62. Dale Marie

    Elaine was my least favorite character because I thought she was too negative. Harsh is probably a better word for her (Karen and Amy). ME was already so rude, arrogant and unpopular with the people in the village that they needed a softer counterpoint for him in the surgery. As I said before I also thought such a character did not exist in real life but I stand corrected.

    Pauline, herself not a pushover, was a better fit I think . Amy, I don’t know if Elaine would have stolen the limelight from DM but the audience would definitely have spent more time paying attention to her antics than the producers would probably have liked. I have seen Lucy Punch in other things and she is a very good actress but they would certainly have had to tone down Elaine had she stayed.

  63. Amy

    On the theme of receptionists, I did like the scene this season (E4) where Morwenna is upset with Martin for not sharing the information about her mother’s illness with her. Her plea of “I work here” was really her saying, “I am your friend. I am not just another villager,” and his response recognizing that she was upset (well, duh, Martin) was one of the few moments of subtlety this season and also another way of showing that Martin had changed. He didn’t get annoyed with her or defensive. He in fact appeared sympathetic—for Martin Ellingham.

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