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“Doc Martin” is one of the best shows on television


I’m not normally a fan of British television. Quite a lot of the stuff that the BBC churns out is complete rubbish. Luckily “Doc Martin” is made by itv (Channel 3 in Britain, a commercial network that competes with the BBC), and its quality is very high. Martin Clunes (of the British series “Men Behaving Badly”) plays Martin Ellingham, a brilliant surgeon in London who develops haemophobia (fear of blood) as a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder response to his work. He has to leave his surgery practice in London and take a position as a general practitioner in tiny Portwenn, Cornwall (played by Port Isaac in southwest England). His gruff, Asperger syndrome-ish behavior provides lots of comedic moments as he tries to function in a small village where everyone knows everyone else’s business. And his stiff, awkward romance with Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz), the local school headmistress, is highly entertaining

We’ve also been watching “Father Brown,” a new series based on the books by G. K. Chesterton, starring Mark Williams (who played Arthur Weasley, Ron’s father, in the Harry Potter films). The series is very entertaining as Father Brown solves a crime every week despite the police inspector’s insistence that he mind his own business. I especially like the way they use the musical theme in so many forms and interpretations. 

Scott and Bailey” is another show we enjoy, following the exploits of two female detectives, Rachel and Janet, at the Manchester Metropolitan Police’s Major Incidents Team. But the crimes are always gruesome, and it’s wearing to watch all the ways the British underclass can be evil to each other. I always have to watch with the captions turned on, because the Manchester dialect often evades my comprehension, though it’s a bit easier to understand than Scouse (the Liverpool dialect of the Beatles).

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