This account contains quite a few spoilers about Series 5!! WARNING!!
Day 1: 26th June
So, my adventure started at 9am on Sunday 26th June where a 7 hour drive was ahead of us because of a huge delay on the M4/M5 at junction 20! Eventually we arrived at Port Isaac and had a look round about 5pm after checking into our B&B Penrose which is next to the Co-op at the top of the hill near the car park where most people park when they visit for the day so we were so near to walk straight into the village at any time.
Day 2: 27th June
I was so thankful to have my mum with me, she used to work in Television so together with me we managed to spot signs of the Doc Martin crew and cast where ever we went. Assuming that they would be there on the Monday (as it was the whole reason I went down there) we went down to the front about 9am and looked across to the house used as the exterior for Doc Martin’s surgery to see more people than usual. Mum spotted a boom and camera and I spotted Martin Clunes so we went along to see if we could watch, passing several runners at the bottom of the hill.
Naturally we got stopped well out of shot and therefore couldn’t see very much, we all know how much greenery there is around his house when you come up the very steep hill! Instead of watching I started to listen and could hear Caroline Catz’s distinguishable Cornish accent and knew she was there, obviously Martin’s voice was booming as well but I had spotted him from a mile off and she was the one I really wanted to see. In between shots they let people pass if they are trying to walk the cliff path or get to the houses at the top of the hill. We decided to see if there was a better view from there, luckily there was although we were pushed back slowly we moved down a little further. I asked the runner what scene they were filming, he said it was from Episode 5 and this particular scene featured Louisa, Martin, Baby Ellingham/Glasson, a fisherman and Louisa’s mum (shortened to Mum in the extracts I heard), they had to take the scene about 6 times so by the end I knew all the words:
Episode 5: Exterior Surgery (this isn’t exact- just a rough outline!!) Takes: 6/7
Knocks on door
Fisherman: You ready?
Louisa’s Mum: Starving
Louisa appears in door way holding her baby
Louisa: Mum, where are you going? I thought you were staying for dinner?
Mum:???? is treating me to Portwenn’s famous fish and chips. Sorry.
Martin appears behind Louisa in the doorway
Martin: Not tonight I hope…
Fisherman: Oh, no course not Doc, not tonight
Martin: (To fisherman) you haven’t made an appointment to see me I need to change your dressing.
Mum: Talk some sense and manners into your man Lou Lou
Fisherman: In a bit of a hurry here Doc, can’t it wait?
They try to walk away, the fisherman gets down a few steps Louisa’s mum only gets to the top step
Martin: I will see you tomorrow morning first thing
Louisa’s mum looks round
Martin: Not you…
Both couples turn round to leave; Louisa closes the door behind her
I stayed and watched this scene for about 2 and half hours, possibly 3!! It took a long time because they needed to do it different shots, close ups on each character, long shots on the couples of characters and the baby kept wiggling!! It did start to rain so some people did leave making more room at the front for me!
I looked around and John Marquez had appeared on set (he plays PC Penhale) and they had to film a scene from Episode 7 which needed Martin in pyjamas and so he spend a lot of time being typical Martin Clunes and running about in them! The funniest thing was a woman who was Australian stood next to me thought he was really grumpy in real life and that he hated dogs and people- that being the reason they cast him. I had to explain much to the amusement of nearly everyone around me that he was just acting!! He really liked dogs, often is silly and will sign nearly every piece of paper you thrust in his direction!
The scene between Penhale and Martin took just 5 takes which is good considering the last one was so much longer, it was mainly due to the fact there were only 2 of them in the scene! But of course using the baby it started to whinge in the middle of the scene, and then the take afterwards Marquez forgot his lines!
It was really difficult to hear this one, especially Martin’s line as he did not leave the house and stood in the doorway throughout. I have provided the script I could hear; it is not completely accurate and CONTAINS A SERIOUS SPOILER/INFORMATION:
Episode 5: Exterior of Surgery/Doorway of Surgery (again a roughly the lines said): Takes 5/6
Penhale knocks at the surgery door
Penhale: Morning Doc
Penhale: Just wanted to inform you, you need to name your little one by the end of the week, 42 days that’s the law- I should know
Martin: I know Penhale
Penhale: Otherwise the state is liable to name the baby for you
Martin: Well, that would be fine
Martin: - (couldn’t hear this bit…)
Penhale: Well, it’s all a bit red tape so get naming…
Doc Martin tries to walk away and shut the door
Penhale: Oh, Doc, by the way, you might say no but do you fancy going for a drink sometime?
Martin gives him a look and slams the door in his face
Penhale raises his eyebrows in a ‘I knew that was going to happen way’ and leaves
Here they told us that they would be bringing an ambulance up to the surgery and that if we could all ‘go away’ for about 20 minutes they would be able to film the next scene and there we broke for lunch! Mum said they would be more like 30/40 minutes what with getting everything up there, retouching makeup and repositioning the camera!
After a lovely slice of cake and a cup of tea at Cupcakes we lurked at the bottom of the hill! Apparently no one was allowed up because the shots were looking right down the hill and if you were caught in shot you would have to repeat it every time they retook the shot! Therefore the runners were only letting people through who needed the toilet or were going to the pottery in between takes! One man was adamant that he would be going up the hill with his walking stick and told the runner he would shoot them with his stick if they filmed him going up the hill! Luckily he decided he would only go to the toilet and save firing his ‘walking stick gun’ which we all thought was hilarious! When the crew took the actor’s lunch up the hill for them to eat in the house we decided to follow them up as we had been talking to them at the bottom of the hill and noticed Martin Clunes was signing pieces of paper!! We proceeded to run past the lunch carriers (which made us out of breath) to see if I could get a photo with Martin Clunes! Obviously as he loves dogs they were everywhere so the picture I have with him, I am standing as close as I can without standing on the assembled dog-idge that is the outside of the house!! But I got my photo and my gosh is he tall but lovely:
Just to say it had been raining hence the state of my hair is interesting!! I didn’t really care, because I waited for him to finish having another photo with someone and asked him ‘Hi Martin could I have a photo with you’ he said ‘Of course mate, which is your camera’ so I pointed and he put his arm kind of round me- bearing in mind there is a dog in between us in this photo I think it went quite well! Then he went inside for lunch after having a few more things, I only wish I had something for him to sign…
We had our lunch/cake and headed back up the hill to admire the somewhat misty view and sat on a wall chatting to some other ‘stalkers’ as mum called us about episodes we liked and what pictures we had got. Suddenly mum shouted ‘look someone with a boom they must be starting again’, I looked and said ‘Who cares about that look its Caroline Catz- my all time favourite actress so I went rushing down the hill to the house before anyone knew what was happening, so got some pretty good shots of her which are on Flickr the link to which is to follow.
Very cleverly in all of Caroline’s shots she manages to wear her brown uggs which you can see in the photo above apart from when they are shooting a full length shot so mostly she is wearing uggs but we do see some nice nude wedges to go with another overly flowery outfit the costume department have put her in, with an equally flowery cardigan to hide her tattoo! This scene we were moved back down below the house because they wanted to film some shots across the bay and therefore we were in the way! I didn’t catch much of the dialogue other than Martin’s line to Louisa ‘She’s going to be fine’. But I will describe the scene to you (this is another spoiler):
Episode 7 (I think…): Exterior of Surgery: Takes 6
Louisa’s mum is wheeled out of the door on an ambulance stretcher followed by Martin watching and making remarks under his breath. He steps out his house watching them take her away. Louisa follows shortly after with a baby car seat with the baby in and after a brief conversation with Martin where his line ‘She’s going to be fine’ followed by a solemn nod from Louisa as she walks out of shot. A voice from the door way presumably the new receptionist says ‘Doc, I have PC Penhale on the phone, it’s an emergency’. Martin sighs taking another longing look at Louisa and walks back inside with the door being closed behind him. I assume that the mother being taken off leads into the ambulance scene they filmed earlier but I could be wrong.
As soon as they said cut and everything, the assembled mass of about 25/30 people swiftly moved up the hill towards the actors- mainly Martin Clunes! I had already had my photo with him and wanted one with Caroline so much!! She was talking to another member of the crew in her warms jacket and ugg boots, she also had a script in her hand and was facing the other way so most people dismissed her as a crew member but I recognised her!! After mum interrupted her I asked for a photo she said ‘yes of course you can’ smiling! I asked if she wanted me to come up or what she said ‘no don’t worry I will come down to you poppet because we are going that way afterwards anyway’. She asked how I was and I did the same and we had our photo!! Again it had rained more since I had my photo with Martin but it still to me is the best picture ever!!
After we had had a few pictures, which this was the best as she had a tendency to blink in the others! She said ‘well it was really lovely to meet you’ and walked down the hill in front of me talking to the crew member we had interrupted her conversation with before. When she got to the car she turned round knowing I was behind her, and waved to me! It had made my first day at Port Isaac (or should I say Portwenn as it said outside the pottery and the fact Bert’s Large Restaurant sign was up) an amazing one!!
Day 3: 28th June
After chatting to the runners from Monday we knew that we wouldn’t be seeing the crew or cast on Tuesday because they would be in the studio all day filming on Martin’s interior house set, they said something about his kitchen so we will have to eagerly await that scene when it the series is aired!! I found out from one of the nicer runners the first episode is aired on 12th September 2011 so I hope you are all now counting down to that!
Mum and I were planning to walk to Port Gaverne then back along the cliff path into Port Isaac to do a little bit of shopping when Mum spotted a small orange arrow with the letters LOC on. Immediately we both knew they were filming, coupled with the fact we saw the ‘Camel’ hire vans which the Doc Martin crew had been using all the times we saw them. As soon as we walked around the corner we saw the runner we had been talking too yesterday and she stopped to talk to us. It turns out the cliff path scene they were planning to film yesterday wasn’t achieved after we met Caroline because the mist was coming in. This morning was ideal as it was so sunny and lovely, yet everyone was still in their warm coats. I looked up while she was talking and saw Caroline dead ahead of me! I felt like the luckiest person in the world to have seen her two days in a row. The best thing was as we got closer she turned round, remembered what I looked like and smiled at me as we walked past them.
The scene they were filming was Louisa and her mother walking along the cliff path pushing the pushchair, but we didn’t have time to ask what episode as we were rushed out of there pretty quickly, still it was lovely to see her and that she recognised me.
We walked home the way we came to see if they were still there but unfortunately they weren’t, so we had a nice day out doing lots of walking and visiting famous places! I had heard that Caroline and a lot of the other Doc Martin crew were staying in a near by B&B and had eaten down at The Mote on the harbour so persuaded Mum to let us eat there but we unfortunately didn’t bump into them again… was a great start to the day seeing Caroline in the morning though!!!!
Day 4: 29th June
From information we had collected from before- we had been more organised at collecting information than we thought on the Monday even with the excitement of meeting Caroline and Martin! Mum and I were told they were filming on The Platt which is the harbour area where a lot of the boats and lobster pots are above the beach in the morning until about 10.
So being insane stalker types me and mum planned to watch in the morning! Obviously because Mum was in the business for years she was aware of early morning protocol and I was determined to get some autographs to go with my pictures with the stars! As insane as this was, we were up and walking down to the harbour at 7.15!! We got down there, to find they were up in the hill- to be fair we spotted them a mile off as it’s the hire vehicles which catch your attention first.
The only people who were up when we were down on the harbour were 2 fishermen and someone we aptly named ‘Mr Bean’ mainly for the fact he had one of those small video cameras and was walking about the streets of Port Isaac filming his route, then his feet, then his face, then the view in that order over and over! I couldn’t stop laughing! When it got to about 8 o’clock and we were freezing from sitting in the shade watching from a distance we walked up the hill past the Surgery Exterior and stood just before the B&B at the top of the hill so we could see. I spotted Martin Clunes pretty quickly with his distinctive walk in his grey suit and the fact he is a head above everyone even at that distance. Obviously we couldn’t hear what was being said but I will describe what I saw to you:
Exterior Landscape: Emergency on the cliffs
Martin runs up the stairs, medical bag in one hand and Moses basket in the other. He placed the basket on the bench and moves towards the large group of runners where one is obviously injured on the floor.
Penhale (on megaphone): Stand back, the Doc is approaching
No one moves so the Doc barged through the assembled crowd and knees down with the patient, he is not there long- perhaps there is no emergency (this is usually the case with many of his patients)
Martin walks back down the hill, says something to Penhale and picks up the baby and leaves the cliff
Penhale (on megaphone): Okay folks, nothing to see here, go on with you
It came to 9am in the morning and we had been watching for an hour, but we unfortunately had a really long drive ahead of us so had to leave them but were so lucky considering we got there on Sunday evening and left on Wednesday morning and caught the filming of 5 scenes. As a bonus I met my favourite actress once and saw her in total twice, I met Martin once and watched him from a distance too! I had an amazing week, if you have the chance go down and watch some of the filming- it is such a rewarding experience, but you do have to keep pinching yourself!