Anticipation is building for the final episode of long-running ITV series Doc Martin, which will bid farewell to Martin Clunes's titular medic and the wider town of Portwenn.

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He's been on quite a journey over nearly two decades, with a near-death experience in Doc Martin season 10 proving to be the final nudge he needed to see the beauty and joy in his surroundings.

If the Doc Martin Christmas special trailer is any indication, we're in for a romantic and upbeat closing chapter, despite our grumpy protagonist's wariness of all things festive.

In an interview about the special, Clunes told ITV: "You can imagine the doctor isn’t too keen on Christmas for his own tortured reasons.

"It’s never stopped making me laugh, I don’t know why because if it was a real person who had had such an awful upbringing you’d feel nothing but pity for them, but because it is him it just makes me laugh."

Read on for everything we know so far about the final episode of Doc Martin – the 2022 Christmas special.

Doc Martin Christmas special 2022 release date

Martin Clunes and Caroline Catz in the Doc Martin Christmas special.
Martin Clunes and Caroline Catz in the Doc Martin Christmas special. ITV

CONFIRMED: The Doc Martin Christmas special 2022 will be broadcast on ITV1 at 9:05pm on Christmas Day, bringing down the curtain on the beloved comedy-drama.

Last Christmas in Portwenn is only the second festive special in Doc Martin's history and the first since 2006, when feature-length instalment On the Edge was first broadcast.

That episode also aired on Christmas Day to strong viewership, so it's not surprising to see the show return to that coveted date in a primetime slot.

The Christmas special was filmed back in February 2022, before production on the final season began.

Caroline Catz, who plays Louisa Ellingham, told ITV: "To be there in February, and to make February look like Christmas when we had all just packed away our own Christmas decorations was quite strange.

"It was beautiful to see it all lit up with Christmas decorations everywhere. I guess it was a bit puzzling for the tourists because suddenly there were Christmas decorations hanging from all the lamp posts and the shop windows were dressed."

Doc Martin season 10 ending explained – does Doc Martin die?

Doc Martin 2022 Christmas special
Martin Clunes and Caroline Catz in the Doc Martin Christmas special. Buffalo Pictures for ITV

Fortunately not! Otherwise a Christmas special would be a rather bleak affair, unless it took the form of some kind of Christmas Carol-style ghost story.

Our beloved Doc Martin did have a brush with death in the previous episode, though, after bursting a major artery on barbed wire in a scene that some viewers found tough to watch.

The accident occurred as the doc and his wife, Louisa, were attempting to escape a stampeding herd of cows and instantly became one of the most dramatic events in the entire show.

Fortunately, after being rushed to hospital, medical professionals were able to save his life and he awoke with a more enlightened view of his picturesque Cornish lifestyle.

Abandoning all plans to sell up and leave, he happily put down roots in the town of Portwenn that he now calls home.

Doc Martin Christmas special 2022 cast

Fortunately, the current Doc Martin cast are returning for the special this Christmas, including Martin Clunes in the title role of Dr Martin Ellingham and Caroline Catz as his wife and local primary school teacher Louisa.

Other familiar faces from around Portwenn who will be back include Ian McNeice as entrepreneur Bert Large, Joe Absolom as his on-screen son Al, Jessica Ransom as receptionist Morwenna, and Selina Cadell as doting pharmacist Sally Tishell.

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Fans can also expect appearances from John Marquez as local copper Joe Penhale, as well as Eileen Atkins as the good doctor's aunt and retired forensic psychiatrist, Ruth.

They will be joined by guest stars Ron Cook, Claire Bloom and Emma Amos.

What is the Doc Martin 2022 Christmas special about?

Ia McNiece as Bert Large in Doc Martin Christmas special
Ia McNiece as Bert Large in the Doc Martin Christmas special. ITV

The official ITV synopsis reads: “Portwenn is full of festive fun, until Doc Martin has the grotto closed down because he fears Santa has something contagious, upsetting the children, including his own son James.

"While awaiting the results of the tests to find out why Leonard is so itchy the Doc tells him he cannot be Santa until they have the diagnosis.

“Leonard is determined to show the Doc the magic of Christmas, and tries to deliver the Ellingham’s Christmas presents down the chimney. Martin is furious, and remonstrates with Leonard for putting himself at risk on the roof of their house, unaware James has witnessed it all.

"James decides to run away to find Santa, but Ruth bumps into him and persuades him to have breakfast, given the journey to the North Pole is a long one.”

Is there a Doc Martin Christmas special 2022 trailer?

Yes! ITV dropped the Doc Martin Christmas special trailer in December, teasing a romantic finale for a show that has already warmed so many hearts over the years. Watch below:

The Doc Martin Christmas special 2022 will air on ITV1 at 9:05pm on Christmas Day. Doc Martin is also available to stream on BritBox. Sign up for a 7-day free trial.

Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide or Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.

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