When people think of small-town doctors the usual image that comes to mind is of a kindly old gentleman who has known most of the people in the vicinity since he helped usher them into the world. He always has a friendly word of encouragement for the young person with the broken arm, can be counted on to make house calls in the worst of weather, and is generally considered to be one of the pillars of wisdom in the community. While it's a lovely image, the person probably never really existed outside of the minds of screenwriters and other Hollywood types.
If for some reason you've been hanging on to that image, a surefire cure for it is now available through Acorn Media in the form of the nine-DVD box set Doc Martin Collection: Series 1 - 4. Doc Martin (Martin Clunes) is the antithesis of the genial country doctor. A former London surgeon, he was forced to give up his practice when he developed a phobia which would cause him to vomit and feel faint at the site of blood – a decided weakness in somebody performing surgery. Not wanting to give up medicine entirely, he applies to take over the practice in the village of Portwenn, Cornwall, the same village he used to summer in as a child.
Neither the good folk of Portwenn nor Doctor Martin Ellingham are quite prepared for each other. Ellingham is used to the highly impersonal world of a big time surgeon where patients are usually unconscious and a bed side manner is something you leave to the underlings and nurses. Portwenn's inhabitants, on the other hand, are used to a doctor, who, while he might not have been quite the stereotype described earlier, came pretty darn close to living up to it. He'd known most of those in the town and surrounding area since birth and leavened his health care practice with his knowledge of the individuals in question. In his time the doctor's surgery (In England a doctor's office is referred to as a surgery) was not just a place to go when you were feeling sick, it was also a social event with tea, cookies and chat on offer.