The Doc Martin Christmas special 2022 will be the final ever episode of the long-running ITV drama starring Martin Clunes as TV's grumpiest medic GP Martin Ellingham.
The series first arrived on our screens in 2004 and has 78 episodes to its name, with episode 79, Last Christmas in Portwenn, the last opportunity audiences will have to sit down with the doc.
Other regular cast members include Caroline Catz as Martin's wife Louisa, Ian McNeice as plumber and businessman Bert, Joe Absolom as Bert's son Al and Selina Cadell as Sally the pharmacist, among others – all of whom will be missed just as much as the titular character.
"We have loved making nine series of Doc Martin," said Clunes and producer Philippa Braithwaite in a statement: "When we launched the series in 2004 we could never have imagined how much our loyal viewers would take to the grumpy Doc like they have.
"The series has avid fans both in the UK and throughout the world and we are thrilled that Doc Martin has topped the ratings every time. However, after sixteen years we now feel that the time has come to say goodbye to Portwenn. We will be making the tenth and final series in 2021 and we are very much looking forward to returning to Cornwall to film it."
Read on for everything you need to know about why Doc Martin is coming to an end now.
Why won't there be a Doc Martin season 11?
It seems that the main reason the series is coming to an end, based on comments made by star Clunes, is simply because the story has run its course.
Clunes said in 2020, while speaking on Loose Women: "All good things have to come to an end. And I’m sure there are lots of people who aren’t fans of the show who think it’s terribly repetitive anyway, but we’re at huge pains not to repeat ourselves. I just think we’ve sort of done everything. I mean, it would be so great to just sort of carry on, but I don’t think we can keep it as good."
As the show is semi-procedural, with new medical cases and conditions each week, it's perhaps no surprise that after almost 80 episodes, fears of repetition could creep in.
However, Clunes added that "we’ve got such a lovely cast, and it’s been 16 years. We all sort of bump into each other’s children every two years and watch them growing up and flourishing."
More recently, in January 2022, Clunes said on Lorraine: "I mean it is sad, but it's not really. It's the right time. I think everyone will probably appreciate it is time to finish. But it feels like a really good time to finish."
Fans already mourning the loss of the series should take heart in the knowledge that Clunes seems pleased with the show's ending. Last week, he said on Good Morning Britain that the season "really builds to a terribly dramatic conclusion, really dramatic. Then the series finishes and then a few weeks later we have our Christmas episode."
What have the rest of the cast said about the show's ending?
Caroline Catz, who plays Martin's wife Louisa, recently said: "The final readthrough was quite emotional. It was the first time we had all been together in one room, rather than over Zoom. There has not been any personal readthroughs for so long. I am finding it really hard to say goodbye to it, and to really absorb how many years it has actually been."
Meanwhile, Jessica Ransom, who plays Morwenna, said ahead of filming her final scenes: "I am going to be an absolute mess. I don't really know - it is so weird, you think it is just a job, it is just ending, the people are still here and the place is still here.
"But I got sad when I did my last scenes in previous series I suppose because we haven't necessarily known that it was coming back. But it does feel very different this time, it feels very final, so it's going to be a tough day."
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She also revealed that "the last scene is all of us together". Get the tissues ready...
The final episode of Doc Martin airs Christmas Day at 9:05pm on ITV1. The show is available to stream on BritBox and you can sign up for a 7-day free trial. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.
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