Martin Clunes’ popular ITV drama Doc Martin will finish its run with the ninth series next year, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
This year will see ITV air series 8 of the Martin Clunes drama in which he plays the uptight but brilliant GP who has been relocated to the fictional Cornish village of Portwenn.
But despite rumours that this would be the final series, the show will in fact conclude in 2018 with series 9. Both shows are likely to air in the autumn of their respective years.
Clunes himself, whose wife Philippa Braithwaite runs the production company Buffalo Pictures that makes the show, assures RadioTimes.com that there will be a series 8 this year and a series 9 next year. And then that really WILL be it.
“We start making [series 8] in spring and it'll probably be on air in the autumn,” he says. So [series 8] is the second to last.”
The news is likely to get a mixed reaction from fans of the show, which is one of ITV’s most popular dramas, regularly pulling in audiences of more than 6m per episode.
It stars Clunes as the eponymous Doc, a brilliant surgeon who has been forced to move to Cornwall and work as a GP because he developed a fear of blood.
He abrupt manner has led to various run ins with the locals, but his medical brilliance has earned him their grudging respect. A recurrent thread also involves his on-off relationship with local primary school teacher Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz, see picture below) with whom his character has a child.
The series started in 2004 and seven series, total 54 episodes plus a 2006 film, have aired so far.
Actor Ian McNeice who plays café owner Bert Large in the show, recently revealed that the cast feared that series seven was going to be the last because of the lavish nature of the series 7 wrap party.
He said: “At the end of the series we had a wrap party with the best drinks and food ever and we were thinking this is looking pretty - is this a goodbye? We were getting a little nervous. Then we had a cast and crew photograph and we had never had that before, and it was slightly unnerving that the end of this series we wrap things up nicely. But it is not over and we are thrilled.”
After it ends in 2018 the series is also poised to live on with a US remake currently being worked on by Marta Kauffman, the co-creator of Friends.
Doc Martin series 8 is due to air on ITV this autumn