Margaret and I have been big fans of the ITV drama, Doc Martin for some time. In short the TV series is a rather quirky English comedy drama about an awkward doctor (played by Martin Clunes) coming to terms with himself and that of the fictitious fishing hamlet of Port Wenn, Cornwall. In actual fact, the azure cove of Port Wenn, is none other than the Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac. So, given we had been in Cornwall taking a break this past week, we decided to visit the place.
From the white washed cottages, to the steep paths to the town centre, to its opal harbour, edged by verdant cliffs, the village is instantly recognisable. What took us a little by surprise though was to learn that the filming for the 4th series of Doc Martin was underway. We had thought the series had finished, but apparently not so. Quite obvious really. Camera equipment and logistics crew were aplenty, and as too were the many tourists hopeful of a glimpse of the cast. And it was a fleeting glimpse – at least initially. Filming was underway in the playground of Port Wenn school (which actually is a small car-park outside an old school hall), and amidst all the flurry of film crew and school children for the scene, we caught the unmistakable pony-tail of Doc Martin’s love interest, Louisa (Caroline Catz). Only a glimpse as the Port Wenn school bus was obscuring most of the view from errant tourists like ourselves.
But, thankfully, we got to witness some filming at much closer quarters shortly after having a light lunch in the Mote pub. The landlord informed more filming was underway literally 10 paces from the pub right at the vertex of the town. So, Margaret and I ventured outside the pub looking for the outdoor set, just as the film crew began rolling their equipment down the hill. The landlord was right. Literally, filming was taking place metres from the door of the pub. Soon after, we recognised two more of Doc Martin’s cast. This time, none other than that of father-and-son duo Bert and Al Large. Bert is played by actor Ian McNeice and Al is played by Joe Absolom. As the prep for the scene unfolded, we were astounded as to how close we all were. While great care was taken by the film crew to ensure no tourist onlookers got in the way of the shot, we were still essentially a live audience. I can’t recall ever being on a movie-set before so this was a new experience, and thankfully one I was able to readily photograph.
I was really very happy with some of the shots of Ian and Joe I managed to capture, particularly Ian, whose face seemed to be churning out expression after expression as he immersed himself in character. Below are the shots I took. I decided to go with a monochrome finish, to give it that classic film feel.
I have to say I enjoyed the opportunity to act as Papparazzi for the afternoon. Not just because they were actors, but because I had the chance to practice taking some spontaneous people photos. It wasn’t just a case of point and shoot, but rather waiting for that opportunity where the subject gives an interesting expression or pose. I have to say Ian McNeice was an excellent subject for doing just that.
Oh and unfortunately, Martin Clunes was not around that day, so no pictures of the series draw card on this occasion.