In the idyllic coastal village Port Wenn, the only family doctor (general
practitioner or GP) named Martin Ellingham goes about his life and business. Once
the youngest vascular surgeon in the country, he used to lead squads in operation
theaters in some top London hospitals until an onslaught of panic attacks at the
sight of blood (hemophobia). It was the tiny fishing port where he spent childhood
summer holidays that he in midlife ran back to.
A typical case of Asperger's Syndrome, the GP was terse and grumpy most of the
time. Constantly outraged by what he saw as idiocies in his patients, he minced
no words in his diagnoses. His competence and sense of duty won a few loyal
allies and even helped procuring love but most villagers showed their thanks
with 'Happy Birthday, Tosser!' on that special day.
I have forgotten how many times I watched the TV series shot in Port Issac,
England. Unlike the drama Foyle's War, another of my favorite British TV shows,
Doc Martin has few quotable monologues. The sceneries, the mores, and the
charisma of the characters combine to deliver great entertainment nonetheless.
It might not have been produced with an audience of Chinese immigrants in mind,
but I found the tiny and mundane details revealing of the Western culture, the
ways common people live out their lives. It feels like an education outside
As a language lover, I have reaped extra rewards in colorful and often comical
(quasi-)medical terms, e.g.,
- Only Child Syndrome
- Middle Child Syndrome
- Chronic Infantilism
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Persecution Complex
Many dialogues are memorable, too, e.g., in Season 6, Ep 7,
Louisa: "I'm not happy. I'm not making you happy, am I?"
Martin: "Happy? Why does everybody have to be happy all the time?"
when the couple called off their wedding, and in Season 8, Ep 8,
Howell: "You collapsed during the procedure."
Martin: "No. I collapsed after the procedure."
Howell: "Well. I failed to see the difference."
Martin: "Then I'm glad you're not my doctor."
when Martin clashed with the tribunal in his hearing.
The final season (10) is airing and I look forward to more delight. Thanks to my
habit of re-watching, it will not be an end for me.