‘Doc Martin’ Drills Patient’s Head With Power Tool – Only Allowed to Portray Real-Life Cases

Doc Martin with Martin Clunes in the role of Doctor Martin Ellingham first debuting in September of 2004, so it’s been around about 15 years. The series traditionally releases a new season about every two years.

This explains why Doc Martin is only in Season 9 today instead of Season 14 or 15 after a decade and a half on the small screen. Most American shows offer a new season at least once a year but that’s not the case in the United Kingdom. Still, this new season rolls out new episodes each Monday and Doc Martin enthusiasts are thrilled.

Often you don’t notice that almost two years elapsed since seeing Doc Martin. He doesn’t change much. The same seems to hold true for most of the other Portwenn characters. But this time around the aging of baby James Henry Ellington (Elliott Blake) gives it away. He’s now in preschool. So he offered the best indication that some time went by since Doc Martin last aired.

Doc Martin: Borrowed from Real-Life If Doctor Ellingham Tackles It

Martin Clunes’ character, as well as the show Doc Martin, is modeled after a real-life doctor. He is also referred to as Dr Martin. It seems this real physician sat down with a writer one day inside a British cafe. Then after this doc offered up some of his true stories about his patients throughout the years, the series was born.

But one more little interesting tidbit surfaced. It came out of a recent This Morning interview with the real doctor and Martin Clunes. It seems the British tend to be a bit more stringent with their control over some aspects of their TV shows. In order for a medical show, like Doc Martin, to demonstrate a medical scene, it cannot be fictional. It needs to occur in real life at least one time before it’s used in the script.

Doc Martin takes on a lot of bloody patients after accidents that occur around Portwenn. But this is hard for Martin Ellingham. He has a blood phobia known medically as hemophobia. This once top-notch London surgeon ended up in Portwenn as their one and only GP (general practitioner) due to his phobia.

It seems Doc Martin couldn’t perform surgery anymore as the sight of blood caused him to get weak and vomit. So instead he opted to take care of the people of this small oceanside fishing village. He did this with the hopes of returning to the operating rooms in London one day.

Doc Martin: Portwenn

Blood and Gore – Medical Emergencies

It seems all the medical emergencies filled with gore and blood seen on Doc Martin really did happen in real life. They occurred at least one time somewhere in the world. The interview on This Morning came around to the Black and Decker drill scene on Doc Martin. On the show, Martin Ellingham used an electric drill to drill into a patient’s skull to alleviate the pressure from inside.

The writers scripted the scene but the television compliance board said no-go. They could use that scene only if it actually happened somewhere. After some research, it appears it did happen in the Australian Outback. Far away from the nearest medical facility, a hand drill saved a person’s life. Drilling a hole in a person’s skull after a head injury relieved the pressure and saved a life. So Doc Martin got to use this procedure on the show.

Fans of Doc Martin know all too well how Dr Ellingham’s detailed observations saved lives in the past. This includes his own wife, Louisa Glasson Ellingham (Caroline Catz). In a previous season, he read a scan of her head that showed a malformation. But he makes this diagnosis just as she is on her way to board a plane.

Doc Martin Saves Louisa Ellingham

Doc Martin worries that the pressure in the plane may cause this malformation to burst. If it did this could cause a bleed in Louisa’s brain. He moves heaven and Earth to get to her before the plane takes off. He makes it in time. She’s rushed to the hospital, operated on, and the rest is history.

He first met Louisa on a plane when heading into Portwenn to apply for the GP position. At that time he noticed something about one of her eyes. He advises her to see an eye specialist because he detected acute glaucoma. So not only has Martin Ellingham been Louisa’s husband, but a watchdog of her health.

Through the seasons, Doc Martin has been spot on when picking up small and seemingly insignificant signs of medical peril in other people. Doctor Ellingham showed great skill when picking up a camera flash reflection in one eye of a child but not in the other. This indicated a serious diagnosis but thanks to his vision for details it was caught early.

He’s quick and to the point. But the amazing things about these diagnoses – they’re real. They have all happened before to people in real-life scenarios. Check it out streaming on Thursday at 5 pm in the US and Canada on Acorn TV.

Click Into Soap Dirt first for all the news and the latest updates on Doc Martin.

Maggie Larkin

I'm obsessed with reality TV and what people will do to get their 15 minutes of fame. I enjoy soaps and sci-fi shows as well.