‘Doc Martin’ Brings Millions To Cornwall But Have The Real-Life Villagers Have Had Enough

The residents of Port Isaac, the real life Portwenn are tired of having the crew all over town

British actor Martin Clunes reads at the Harvest Festival, held at Westminster Abbey, in London, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, the first to be held at the Abbey in nearly half a century.
Paul Grover / AP Images

The residents of Port Isaac, the real life Portwenn are tired of having the crew all over town

Doc Martin, the popular Martin Clunes series shot in the real Cornwall town of Port Isaac (subbing as the fictional town of Portwenn) has brought millions to the Cornwall economy. The series, which will shoot two more seasons until it wraps up has brought crowds of people to the coastal town to create the show, and even more to take the tour of all of the places that Doc Martin frequents on the ITV series. But the flipside of the boost to the local Port Isaac economy is the crowds, and the locals are allegedly sick of their once-quiet town turning into bedlam.

Doc Martin Is Attracting Tons Of Visitors To The Cornwall Town Of Port Isaac

Travel writer Rick Steves explains that what was once a sleepy village is now being overrun by fans looking to get a glimpse of Martin Clunes.

“While Port Isaac is portrayed on the show as a quiet time warp, in reality, it’s chockablock with Doc Martin fans. And part of their pilgrimage is to hike up the far side of the village to this building, Doc Martin’s cottage.”

Steves suggests that if you want to tour a town that is similar to Portwenn (Port Isaac) you can check out Penzance (yes, like the Pirates). And Martin Clunes suggests Port Quin.

Clunes says it is one of his favorite places to walk the dog.

“It’s an old fishing village along the coast from Port Isaac. There’s a beautiful crenelated folly there called Doyden Castle, built about 1830 by Samuel Symons, which we used as Pentire Castle at the end of season five.”

Over The Last Decade, Doc Martin Has Made Millions In Tourism Dollars For Cornwall

ITV says that the popularity of Doc Martin worldwide brings people from around the world to the Cornwall town of Port Isaac. Malcolm Bell of Visit Cornwall says that the show, Doc Martin has spurred people to make the trek to Cornwall.

”We’ve actually done research into the impact of Doc Martin and of the viewers who watch Doc Martin 27 percent said it was their trigger for coming to Cornwall, and that’s not just in the UK. We get an awful lot of Australians, Americans, and Canadians who come to Cornwall and want to go to Doc Martin country, and want to go to Port Isaac.”

Alex Roads of John Bray Cornish Holidays agrees and says that between the cast and crew of Doc Martin and those tourists looking to see the town where Doc Martin is shot, holiday cottages are full.

“The Doc Martin crew book with us so they’re down for 18 weeks at the moment taking 20 of our 80 cottages. Over the years Doc Martin has drawn a very good international audience, so we do get a much better international clientele coming down to see where they film, so it has had an impact definitely.”

But Not Everyone Is Thrilled By All Of The Tourists Who Visit Port Isaac For Doc Martin

But while many of the business owners are happy about the throngs of tourists coming to Port Isaac, other residents have grown tired of constant crowds brought to town by Doc Martin, says the Daily Mail. The traffic issues and the blocked roads are just the start of the problems between the Port Isaac locals and the Doc Martin production staff.

Philippa Braithwaite, wife of Martin Clunes and co-owner of the Doc Martin production company, Buffalo Pictures admits that there have been confrontations between locals and the Doc Martin cast and crew.

“Wherever you film there are going to be a few people who don’t want the crew there and we have issues sometimes with a few sections of the community. Generally, I think they’re welcoming and friendly and there’s a lot of income generated from it. But I don’t think we’re ever going to please everybody.”

Braithwaite has had to bend over backward to please Eileen Jordan, the 73-year-old Port Isaac business owner who has been the most vocal critic of the Doc Martin production.

“They blocked the doorway to my gift shop on countless occasions, sometimes for as long as 20 minutes so customers could not get in or out. One morning I woke up to find Martin Clunes and a crew on my front patio. I went down and gave them what for and told them they could at least have sought permission to use it.”

Local lawyer Dugald Sproull was born in Port Isaac and says while many people on the production staff of Doc Martin are perfectly pleasant, others are self-important.

“I am sorry to say the village has been totally ruined by Doc Martin. It seems everyone who holidays in Cornwall now comes on a day trip to Port Isaac to gaze at the film set. There are daily coaches from St Ives and Newquay.”

Sproull says that while the pastry and ice cream shops make money, the day visitors clogging the town really bring in little income to the town of Port Isaac.