Caroline Catz on why Louisa and Doc Martin will last — whatever the final series throws at them

Caroline Catz as Louisa in Doc Martin wearing a cardigan and blue shirt
Caroline Catz talks Doc Martin special memories. (Image credit: ITV)

Avid Doc Martin fans will remember Martin Ellingham and Louisa Glasson getting off on the wrong foot in the very first episode of ITV’s comedy-drama during a flight to Cornwall.

Fast forward 18 years and the once star-crossed strangers are happily married with two children, a dog, and thriving in the fictional village they call home. However, the pair are being tested to their limits in Doc Martin season 10 — the last-ever series of the ITV drama. 

Last week (episode four) saw the Doc’s ex, Sophie Trent, knock on their door with an unexpected proposal. This week (episode five) trouble comes calling in the form of Louisa’s dodgy career criminal father, Terry Glasson.

Hermione Norris talks Doc Martin, Cold Feet, Spooks and Riches.

Watch out! Hermione Norris has returned to Doc Martin as troublemaking Sophie Trent. (Image credit: Getty)

Terry — Kenneth Cranham, reprising his one-off guest role from 2006 — turns up out of the blue and appears to be genuinely ill... Placing the Doc (Martin Clunes) in a tricky predicament! On one hand, he’s bound by patient confidentiality. On the other, he wants to be honest with his wife. The result is a tightly clenched fistful of family tension!

Here Caroline tells us why Portwenn’s power couple are at their best when under pressure…

What are your thoughts on Louisa and the Doc's rollercoaster relationship?

Caroline Catz: "It’s amazing how their relationship has evolved because they were always at odds with one another! At one point she was headmistress, he was the Doc, they were in opposition, and there was so much tension. What’s nice is that we found a way to bring them together but still maintain their differences and individual quirks. They love each other, even though they don’t always connect."

Louisa and Martin looking pensive in Doc Martin.

Unexpected callers give Louisa and Doc Martin pause for thought. (Image credit: ITV)

Between parenting and unexpected visitors, that tension is very much prominent in the final series. Does that keep it interesting for you?

CC: "Yes, the Doc and Louisa love and support each other but have different ways of approaching things. That’s what’s great about the show. It’s not conventional comedy or drama. It has its own tone and that makes things funny. Especially when the kids arrived! The two children have been a great addition, we’ve had a lot of fun with them. James Henry is having to manage being a big brother... He’s his father’s son!"

How has it been working with the actors who play 4-year-old, James Henry and baby Mary Elizabeth?

CC: "Elliott Blake, who plays James Henry, is an amazing little actor. He started with us when he was three and he’s now six. He’s a natural and such a joy to have on set. 

"When he arrived on his first day for this series I asked him if he remembered me and he said ‘No, not really, it was three years ago and I was only three!’ So, we had to build up that relationship again, but it didn’t take long. He’s a little poppet!

"The babies playing Mary Elizabeth — Willow and Bette Pollard, Austyn and Everly Daniels — are also absolutely adorable."

In the family way. Terry comes calling and meets his grandkids.

In the family way. Terry comes calling and meets his grandkids. (Image credit: ITV)

Famously, you had numerous children playing baby James Henry in series five. Was that a hectic time?

CC: "We had 12 babies playing James Henry! Sometimes there would be green rooms with loads of babies and loads of mums. You know what filming is like, you have to wait around, and babies don’t wait for anything. You needed 12 of them to ensure you had a baby who was smiling or crying. You had the whole gamut of emotions in those rooms. 

"Those babies are now eight. Two mums are good friends and their sons are in the same class at school. Sometimes they are extras in the show. It’s really sweet!"

Were there any unexpected moments while filming the final series?

CC: "When we started filming in February it was Winter and dark in Cornwall. We got the impact of a more wintery version of this seaside summery place - especially when we had the big storms. That was one of the most dramatic things I've ever seen. 

"At one point we were all locked in a barn because we couldn’t go out. Actors had to be taken out of their trailers in case they blew off the cliff in them! The water came all the way up to the lifeboat house and there were all these conversations about the electrics going down. It was exciting, but quite scary!"

With this being the last-ever series, has it been an emotional shoot?

CC: "I was in denial at the beginning. Everyone was talking about it being the end and I couldn’t really think about it because it seemed like we’d so much ahead of us. But then [filming] the packing up of the Ellinghams' house [for the final episode] really got to me. It was a little bit devastating. Doc Martin has been a massive part of my life. 

"I just can’t believe that we’re closing the book on these beautiful characters and fantastic storylines. Imagining the sets being pulled down is overwhelming. I’m going to miss the cast camaraderie and working with Martin."

What can you tease about the final episodes?

CC: "They’ve worked really hard on bringing in new elements to keep it fresh. That’s what makes this such a brilliant and unique job. You don’t feel like you’re repeating yourself. The scripts this time are particularly brilliant. It’s good to go out on a high." 

Martin and Louisa, wedding ready (finally!) in 2013

Wedding ready (finally!) in 2013. (Image credit: ITV)

What have been your favourite storylines over the years?

CC: "Louisa and the Doc’s wedding, which started out like a chocolate box wedding and then turned into this dark storyline with guns, machetes and a bloodstained wedding dress. That was really fun. 

"One of my other favourites was a dream sequence where I was falling off a cliff. Being suspended on a harness thirty feet in the air in a quarry was quite an unforgettable moment!"

Finally, are you taking any mementos or souvenirs from set?

CC: "I’m going to take Louisa’s handbag. It’s got scripts in it from the last five years and old bits of chewing gum. It’s really revolting what goes on in there, but it does tell a story of days and years on set!"

Doc Martin is currently showing on Wednesdays on ITV at 9pm. Episodes are available on ITV Hub after transmission for a limited time. 

Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and (opens in new tab)www.whattowatch.com (opens in new tab) covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.

 

As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 


After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.