Just Call Him Dog Martin! Selina Cadell - Who Plays Mrs Tishell in Doc Martin - Tells How Martin Clunes' Passion for Pooches Has Taken over the Set

Daily Mail (London), September 19, 2015 | Go to article overview

Just Call Him Dog Martin! Selina Cadell - Who Plays Mrs Tishell in Doc Martin - Tells How Martin Clunes' Passion for Pooches Has Taken over the Set


Byline: Selina Cadell

Martin Clunes and I are taking abreak between filming scenes on Doc Martin - in which I play chemist Mrs Tishell - in Port Isaac, Cornwall. Among the mob of fans waiting patiently, cameras in hand, Martin spots a woman with an eccentric-looking spaniel. 'Aaah, hello,' he says, addressing the dog as an old friend. 'You've got lovely long ears.' 'Yes,' says its owner, 'when he gets anxious he chews them.' With a large dose of self-deprecation, Martin shoots back, 'Don't we all?' Fans of the show will know that the Doc is no dog-lover, but Martin himself is passionate about them. And word's got round: if you want to meet Martin on the Doc Martin set, you don't stand a chance without a dog. Any dog. Big, small, beautiful, ugly, sweet-natured, crotchety or even sick - he loves them all and they all love him. I reckon there's a canny local entrepreneur in the village running a Rent-A-Dog scheme from a Portakabin.

When I first met Martin 11 years ago now on this very set, I saw him as a tall, curious clown: gentle, courteous and very quick-witted. But I didn't realise just how doggy he is. So where did it all begin? Jemima, it transpires, was his first dog, a white rescue terrier bought for his sister Amanda when they were children. 'She lost interest in her quite soon and I gained interest,' he says. 'I mean, anyone who's felt the thrill of the weight of a dog on their bed... some children never have that.' It's a love that's only got stronger.

Not long ago on the beach during a filming break, John Marquez, who plays PC Penhale, whispered in Martin's ear, 'Would you mind, this lady here has brought...' Martin turned and there was Jasper, a grey and black long-haired mutt. He'd had pancreatitis and had to get home for his medicine. Martin, making tiny soothing noises, bent down to the creature, nose to nose, a hand on the dog's chest, and the woman took her photo. 'Sorry, Martin,' said John, 'I knew you wouldn't mind a poorly dog.' 'How ' Martin's wife Philippa, who's a producer on the show, shares his love of dogs - theyMartin a dog-so have four - and their passion has permeated the set. Fans and their pets pour towards Martin like a tidal wave, creating an extraordinarily relaxed dynamic.

Our base is a beautiful hilltop farm where we go each day to be made-up and costumed. This is the hub of any film set, a tightly run, efficient and normally animal-free zone. On Doc Martin though, a marvellous canine subculture underpins it. There's Zac, a collie cross, and Daisy, a cairn/border terrier mix, who belong to the Sloman family who run the farm. …

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