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Tuesday 29 November 2022

TRAILER: Predators Narrated By Tom Hardy

Predators, a brand-new Sky Original series from Sky Nature, now has a first-look trailer. The historic five-part series, narrated by actor and producer Tom Hardy, will debut on Sky Nature on December 11, 2022. It follows five of nature's largest predators as they struggle for survival in the wild.

Each episode is focused on a specific predator in one part of the world. Tom Hardy narrates as the series follows the real life dramas of cheetahs in Tanzania, polar bears in Canada, lions in Botswana, pumas in Chile and wild dogs in Zimbabwe, as they are put to the test among the evolving landscapes and environment.

Fighting to protect their kingdoms in the wild, each predator is faced with unique obstacles and challenges in what is undoubtedly the ultimate power struggle to maintain their rule in the natural world.

These five fascinating creatures are hunters, parents, and survivors alike, embarking on a series of treacherous journeys in the wild. Their stories all point to a critical moment in their lives, as they fight to secure the future for their next generation in this thrilling quest for survival.

Brand new for 2022, Predators narrated by Tom Hardy is coming to Sky Nature 11 December.

Arthurian legend re-imagined as casting is revealed for The Winter King

Filming has begun in Wales and the West Country on the major new series The Winter King based on Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles.

A bold and revisionist take on the well-loved Arthurian Legends, The Winter King follows Arthur Pendragon as he evolves from outcast to legendary warrior and leader.

The Winter King is set in the 5th century long before Britain was united. In a land of warring factions and tribes when the World was brutal and lives were often fleeting.

Coming to ITV.

Featuring an exciting range of established names and new talent the cast includes:

IAIN DE CAESTECKER (The Control Room, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) as a young Arthur, who begins as an exiled bastard before becoming the greatest hope for Britain.

STUART CAMPBELL (SAS Rogue Heroes, Clique) is Derfel who transforms from left-for-dead orphan to the truest of all warlords.

ELLIE JAMES (Giri/Haji, I May Destroy You) is Nimue a priestess saved by Merlin because she can see the gods - he gives her power, wisdom and learning.

EDDIE MARSAN (The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe, Deceit) is Uther, High King of all Dumnonia, old and battle tested. He commands incredible authority, over almost all, bar Merlin.

NATHANIEL MARTELLO-WHITE (Small Axe, I Hate Suzie) is Merlin, a politician, powerful, enlightened, and absolute. Fearless in the face of a King's wrath he follows his connection to his Gods in all things.
DANIEL INGS (I Hate Suzie, The Crown) is Owain one of Arthur's closest childhood friends and like a son to High King Uther.

VALENE KANE (The Fall, Gangs of London) is Morgan, Arthur's half-sister and another bastard child of King Uther. She is a sharp-tongued and independent minded pagan and student of Merlin.

SIMON MERRELLS (Good Omens, Knightfall) is Gundleus, King of rival kingdom Siluria. Imposing and savage, Gundleus is prepared to slaughter whoever he needs to secure power.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Taskmaster - New Year Special - Brand-New Celebrity Line Up

Featuring Amelia Dimoldenburg, Carol Vorderman, Greg James, Sir Mo Farah and Rebecca Lucy Taylor

Feeling in an unusually festive mood, the almighty Greg Davies accompanied by his dutiful sidekick Little Alex Horne star in the brand-new one-off special Taskmaster's New Year Treat which returns to Channel 4 this winter for its third instalment.

In order to compete in the name of Hogmanay, Lord Greg will be welcoming five famous contestants from very different and diverse spheres of entertainment. These contestants will use their skill, nerve, and grit to successfully complete a number of intriguing challenges in the hopes of winning the unique trophy known as Greg's Golden Eyebrows.

Hoping to impress are; comedian, creator, host and journalist Amelia Dimoldenberg (Chicken Shop Date), TV host, numbers queen and First Lady of Channel 4 Carol Vorderman (Pride of Britain, ITV), presenter and writer Greg James, four-time Olympic Champion Sir Mo Farah, and Mercury Music Prize & Brit Award nominated pop star Rebecca Lucy Taylor aka Self Esteem. The customary assault course of bizarre challenges will be thrown their way, but how will these celebrities fair in the international hit show?

Prince Andrew: The Musical - Cast is revealed

Kieran Hodgson (How Europe Stole My Mum, Two Doors Down) leads a cast of comics in a satirical send-up of the life and times of Prince Andrew, set to a musical score from Kieran Hodgson and Freddie Tapner.

The storyline of the musical centres on the significant occasions, connections, and issues throughout Andrew's life. This includes a retelling of the former HRH's explosive interview with Emily Maitlis, portrayed by Emma Sidi (Starstruck, Pls Like.)

Munya Chawawa (Taskmaster, Race Around Britain) and Jenny Bede (Catastrophe, Murder In Successville) will join the main cast as Sarah Ferguson and Prince Charles, respectively.

Harry Enfield will portray Prime Minister Tony Blair, while Baga Chipz will portray Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Joe Wilkinson will play a newspaper dealer.

The hour-long musical extravaganza will feature seven original musical numbers, including 'I Nailed It' a high-octane duet set in the aftermath of the Duke's Newsnight interview; 'Will You Be My Ex-Wife', a romantic ballad sung between Andrew and Sarah Ferguson; 'Obey' a stirring solo number in which Prince Charles reflects on royal scandals past and present; and Andrew's rip-roaring finale 'You're Always Gonna Need an Andrew'.  

The Big Interiors Battle revealed as AJ Odudu announced as host and Dara Huang as judge

The new interior design competition series will see the eventual winner walk away with a two-bedroom apartment in Sheffield to call their home.

The Big Interiors Battle, a Channel 4 competition series that will give one of the biggest prizes on television, will premiere in early 2023, and AJ Odudu has been named as the host.

The show will feature eight outstanding interior designers who are given the keys to an apartment where they are asked to redesign a different room each week. It is based in social impact developer Capital&Centric's upscale Eyewitness Works building in the centre of Sheffield.

The contestants' work will then be judged by Dara Huang, an architect and entrepreneur with clients across the globe ranging from billionaires to the world's most famous brands. After judging, hopefuls will return to their apartments and use an electronic key-card to learn their fate. If the light on their door goes green, they will remain in the running for another week. However, each week one contestant's door will turn red, indicating they have been locked out of the competition for good.

At a time when home ownership has never felt more out of reach, The Big Interiors Battle boasts one of the most coveted prizes on television, as the winner of the competition will then become the owner of their very own two-bedroom apartment within this historic development in South Yorkshire.

Host AJ Odudu commented: "I'm so excited to be involved in a series that has the potential to genuinely change the winner's life. I'm also looking forward to seeing everyone's different styles - as a major interiors obsessive myself, I'll definitely be on the look out to hopefully pick up some nifty DIY tricks from this cast of pros."

Friday 25 November 2022

TRAILER: Whitstable Pearl Series 2 starring Kerry Godliman and Robert Webb


We return to the stunning Kent coast for the second series of Whitstable Pearl, a gem of a show just waiting to be discovered. Kerry Godliman (After Life, Save Me, Adult Material) is back as the eponymous Pearl, a restaurateur who also runs a detective agency. She’s joined once again by Frances Barber (Silk, Mr Holmes) and Howard Charles (The Musketeers, Liar, Shadow and Bone) alongside a stellar returning cast and guest stars.

It’s six months on, and Pearl (Kerry Godliman) and Mike (Howard Charles) are just good friends. Mike has found a new vigour for life, and his pursuit of open-air swimming has led him into the arms of a new woman, Kat (Emily Head, The Inbetweeners), a sunny, outgoing, eternal optimist. Pearl also has a new person in her life, Tom (Robert Webb, Peep Show), a supply teacher, who’s the definition of a ‘nice guy.'

This series sees Pearl hired by local ex-soldier Dan Tomlin whose son has disappeared under questionable circumstances; Mike tackling a case involving his neighbour who says he has night terrors but Mike suspects there’s foul play and calls in Pearl to help investigate; and a woman despised by the locals who is planning to sell her mother’s beloved local pub to the highest bidder rather than sell it back to the community hiring Pearl to help find the perpetrator of a hate campaign.

Other cases include a 70s film icon (Stephanie Beacham) found at home unconscious, her housekeeper the prime suspect - but has she been framed? Strange things are happening at Pearl’s Mum Dolly’s (Frances Barber) home so she calls in her daughter to investigate. And when a bride is murdered at the wedding that Pearl is catering, she must put on her detective hat once again to find out who could have possibly wanted the woman dead...

Starts Monday, 28th November 2022


Thursday 24 November 2022

Doc Martin returns in a Christmas Special

Christmas is coming to Portwenn as Martin Clunes returns to play the nation's favourite grumpy medic in a one off special of ITV's hugely successful drama Doc Martin.

Following the ratings success of the final, tenth series in the Autumn, Martin Clunes, reprises the role of Dr Martin Ellingham, the GP with a brusque bedside manner and a phobia of blood, for one last time in this Christmas treat, produced by Buffalo Pictures and set in the idyllic hamlet of Portwenn.

The series ended on a high with nearly six million viewers tuning in to find out whether the Doc would accept a prestigious post in London, or stay in Portwenn. A near fatal accident prompted the Doc re-consider his priorities. He decided that his wife and family must come first, and that they should all stay in Portwenn.

Picturesque Port Isaac provides the beautiful wintry backdrop for the festive special, with all the regular members of the cast reprising their roles.

Caroline Catz plays Doc Martin's wife, Louisa Ellingham, Dame Eileen Atkins plays Doc Martin's formidable Aunt Ruth. Ian McNeice is back to play Bert Large, with Joe Absolom as his son Al. John Marquez is PC Joe Penhale, Jessica Ransom is the doctor's receptionist, and Al's wife, Morwenna, and Selina Cadell is pharmacist Mrs Tishell. They are joined by guest stars Ron Cook, Claire Bloom and Emma Amos.

Portwenn is full of festive fun, until Doc Martin has the grotto closed down because he fears Santa has something contagious, upsetting the children, including his own son James (Elliott Blake). While awaiting the results of the tests to find out why Leonard(Santa, played by Ron Cook) is so itchy the Doc tells him he cannot be Santa until they have the diagnosis.

Leonard is determined to show the Doc the magic of Christmas, and tries to deliver the Ellingham's Christmas presents down the chimney. Martin is furious, and remonstrates with Leonard for putting himself at risk on the roof of their house, unaware James has witnessed it all. James decides to run away to find Santa, but Ruth bumps into him and persuades him to have breakfast, given the journey to the North Pole is a long one.

To try to make up for James' disappointment at not meeting Santa, Louisa decides, with the help of the village, to arrange a lantern parade, led by Santa, something she has fond memories of from when she was a child in Portwenn. PC Joe Penhale is thrilled to be asked to don his Santa suit and lead the parade.

But parish councillor  Agatha Higgins (Emma Amos), objects to the plan, because  the event doesn't meet certain requirements, not least the health and safety risks. Louisa tries to change her mind by inviting her to their parade meeting on the Platt where Christmas preparations are in full swing. Agatha seems to be getting into the festive spirit when she guesses the weight of the turkey, but before she can confirm the parade can go ahead, she trips and hits her head on the floor, and an ambulance has to be called.

A delighted Mrs Tishell finds herself under the mistletoe with the Doc after he notices her choking for a second time. Fearing she has a serious illness and that this might be her last Christmas, she just can't resist stealing a Christmas kiss. Martin is appalled by her advances, but as a result diagnoses her with a manageable condition, not a life threatening illness. He also tells her the prolapsed disc has healed, so she no longer has to wear her neck brace. But Mrs Tishell is not sure she wants to abandon the neck brace.

Morwenna can't help but have a seemingly irrational liking for the turkey, naming it Toby. After Agatha guesses the correct weight, Morwenna decides to take it to the butcher herself. Al doesn't believe her when she says the turkey escaped on the way to the butcher, but her reasoning quickly helps him understand why she set it free.

Meanwhile PC Joe Penhale's romantic attempt to woo Janice by showering her with gifts backfires when she thinks she is being stalked.

Martin is called out to see Leonard (Santa) who has had an accident, and as he is anaemic he cannot afford to lose any blood. As Martin is driving to Leonard's house the weather is getting worse and he has an accident, which causes him to hallucinate about his mother (Claire Bloom), prompting some of his own parenting concerns. Eventually making it to Leonard's house and recovering from the cold, he treats Leonard. Leonard confides in Martin about the death of his wife and why he celebrates Christmas. He challenges Martin to do the same. But will they make it back to the village in time for the Christmas parade Louisa has organised?

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Interview with Claudia Winkleman - Host of The Traitors

With a chance to win up to £120,000 in this suspenseful psychological competition, Claudia Winkleman welcomes 22 strangers as they arrive at a stunning castle in the Scottish Highlands.

The Traitors, whose job it is to covertly murder a player every night without being discovered, are concealed among them.

The other players, called the Faithfuls, must make an effort to identify the traitors and exclude them from the game before they claim another victim.

Those who are fortunate enough to make it to the end have a chance to win that potentially life-changing sum of money. But if a Traitor remains undetected, they'll take all the money.

Can you tell us about the concept of The Traitors?

The Traitors is in essence a psychological reality show where players must decide who they can trust.

22 people arrive at a beautiful castle. They're from all walks of life. They're all ages. They bond. They make friends. And they spend their days working together as a team to complete spectacular physical and mental missions to add money to a prize pot, that is worth up to £120,000.

But not all is as it seems, because hidden amongst the group are some Traitors - players I secretly selected at the start of the game which the viewers will see for themselves. Everyone else is known as 'The Faithful' and none of The Faithful know who The Traitors are.

The Traitors role is to murder one of their fellow players every night and remain undetected by the rest of the group.

The Faithfuls role is to try and work out who is betraying them and eliminate them from the game, because every day all the players also meet at a 'Round Table' and vote to 'banish' the player they most suspect of being a traitor.

At the end of the game, only the players that who have survived all these 'Murders' and 'Banishments' will win the prize pot.

If they are all Faithful they will share it, but and this is a big but, if there are still Traitors secretly lurking amongst them, then they will win it all! It's gripping!

It sounds totally straightforward but it's not because they all start second guessing everybody and don't know whether they can trust their best friend. They're not sure how a Traitor would behave or how a Faithful would behave and it messes with your head as we say and it's gripping to watch.

What made you want to be a part of this show because you must get asked to do so many things. Why the Traitors?

I do get asked and I never leave home because I lick the children which bothers them especially the oldest one who is almost 20.

But the producers sent me the Dutch version of the show and they said, watch this it really worked and we'd like to make a version here in Scotland and you would need to leave home for three weeks. And I was like 'I don't think so' and then I pressed play on episode one and I didn't sleep or eat for two days. I watched the whole thing. I said to them I will get to Scotland myself, I will make sandwiches for the whole cast and crew please please please let me do this. I was absolutely hooked.

When I took part my husband would call and say 'amazing news the youngest one did such and such in a spelling test' and I was like never mind that, you wait until you see what is happening up here. My family totally lost me whilst I was away filming this.

I'm not surprised and that leads on to the next question, which is that you're so integral to the show. You're such a part of the game. How was that for you? Because it's kind of a different job to your normal presenting job.

It's wholly different because I don't really present. I mean one would hope I do because that's what they hired me for but I was mainly just obsessed with the show but we all were; camera department, sound, makeup and set design - we would just watch the contestants constantly because they're filmed all the time. There are hidden cameras everywhere. That's all we did. We didn't discuss anything else. We would have eaten fungi, that sounds bad because mushrooms are nice, but you know what I mean we weren't focused on anything else. I felt bad because normally my role if I've ever done telly or radio is I'm like a cheerleader. You know? "Well done. You're amazing. Craig gave you a two that's better than a one." And on this I'm a bit crueller. I didn't want to be too cruel, because I'm on their side. But the problem is I'm on all of their sides. I want the Traitors to win and I also want the Faithfuls to catch them. It's confusing, it's like having an affair or something.

It must have been so hard for you when you're in certain situations not to give anything away with your face and not to overreact or anything. How was it?

That's why I had to be quite cold because especially at the roundtable where they're all barking up the wrong tree and I don't want to give anything away but there was one example when someone kept on going I know it's you and all the 21 others just laughed at her and I just had to keep my distance, it was really hard.

Why did you choose the Traitors that you did?

Well, there was so much discussion about it. I interviewed them all individually at the beginning and I only chose those who wanted to be Traitors but a lot of them wanted that role. There was someone who I thought would have been a good Traitor but they had their heart set on being a Faithful. The thing is that some people want to be Agatha Christie and some people want to be a Traitor. Then I had to think who would work well together. You've got to think who is robust and strong enough to take it on because it's a really hard role because you're essentially lying. So it took some real thought but I was so passionate about who I wanted to be the Traitors.

Was it hard not to take sides? Were you rooting for the Faithfuls or the Traitors?

What's complicated and I felt this when I watched the Dutch version as well is you are rooting for both. You're rooting for brains and wit and smart because that will win out. This is not luck. This is not a game of someone pressing the button at the right time. This is a psychological battle. Just you wait until the end, because there's a part of you that absolutely wants the Traitors to take it all because they've got the hardest job I think.

It's such a good moment when the Traitors meet every night, because they get to finally break cover after a day of lying to everyone.

Oh my god. One of the Traitors is so good at playing dumb, such a wily fox. I'm rooting for them so much but at the same time, when the Faithful finally get a Traitor out, you can't believe it I felt so much emotion. I wanted to cry with joy at that roundtable. Somebody turns around says I am a traitor and the room just explodes. Can you tell I am dangerously into this show?

Tell us about the challenges?

The challenges were epic, I mean there were helicopters. But there's a touch of paganism which I like. And what I love about the challenges is definitely as it goes on, and as the group gets smaller, they need that time to just shake off the tension because even though they're never not playing the game and how people act in the challenges informs what they think of each other, they come together and work as a team. So even if there's a very stressful roundtable and people are accusing each other of all kinds of things it is really thrilling when they are out there in the fresh air and they're on each other's side and they build up that prize pot and they do it really well.

What's the most gripping thing about the show?

Oh my god it's the roundtable. When they all come and sit around the giant table and look into each other's eyes to try and figure out who they should be banishing from the game. Watching the players come to their conclusions about who is a Traitor is pure drama, and some people are so good at influencing the group even if their convictions are totally off! As a viewer you just think my gosh this is how juries must often work. People become so definitive in their judgments, often based on little evidence. It's incredible.

Would you be a good traitor?

I'd want to be a traitor. Yeah, I'd absolutely want to be a Traitor. But I don't think I'd be very good at it as it's really hard but I think the gameplay and scheming would be amazing.

What would your game plan be?

Be everyone's friend.

Are you a good liar?

I think I'm a good liar but the producers of Would I Lie To You would say that I wasn't very good! When I was younger I used to lie professionally, my mum would be like: "Why have you just told all your friends that you broke your arm?" and I wouldn't know but I would want her to put my arm in a sling.

Were there any contestants that you ever felt really worried about because the paranoia really got to them?

No because they knew they could trust the producers. We made sure that they knew who to trust when they were not playing the game in the castle. They were really well fed, which is very important. But look it is a destabilising show, it is thrilling.

How did they make sure no one ever saw The Traitors return?

The production was amazing in the fact that everybody has to leave the castle at midnight and they all leave individually and are taken back to their dwellings and then the Traitors come back without anybody knowing. It was honestly a military operation. And there was never even a close shave or anything. Hats off to them! The only thing that mattered was the secrecy, we didn't even use the word Traitors on set just in case anyone let anything slip. Me and the crew on set used different words which I can't possibly tell you. But we were so so careful.

I can't imagine what it must have been like to be the contestants going back to their rooms every night?

Well, some of them made notes. Which is what I would have done because when you're trying to solve a mystery, I mean, maybe I've watched too much Quincy and read too many detective novels, but you sometimes realise it's a tiny thing. The first Traitor they catch out is because they said something really small as a throw away comment and one person just kept on drilling down at and they got them so you have got to be keeping notes!

How it was being in Scotland for three weeks?

I thought I've been to beautiful places. I have never been anywhere more beautiful than the Scottish highlands in my life. It felt sometimes like we were in a painting if that's not too cheesy. And on the first day the weather systems were bonkers. I mean, at one point I went on my weather app and it literally just said no idea mate good luck, take a bikini and a cagoule. On day two, we saw a double rainbow and everyone was like oh my gosh, and the crew were crying, there were baby deer, there was beautiful heather, there were ancient trees, and an ancient loch. We were all taking pictures. I FaceTimed my kids to say "you've never seen anything like it's magical". And then by day four, there had been another three double rainbows. I mean, by the end of the three weeks where we had seen 50 it was like don't care. But it's just the most beautiful landscape.

Tweed features quite heavily. How did you approach your look for the series? It's obviously quite a departure from Strictly and the sequins.

Well, I mean, this is my dream wardrobe and what I have wanted to wear but I've never been to the countryside so I've never worn it before. I have got a brilliant girl who gets all my clothes for Strictly and we were like let's go for a touch of Ronnie Corbett, a bit of Princess Anne and Madonna when she married Guy Richie. I don't know whether you can use any of those references! The clothing was amazing. We wanted to be respectful but we also did want to wear a lot of tweed and then somebody showed me Alan Cummings look book as he has done the American version. I was like, guys, we're all right.

What was it like being part of a show that was so different from Strictly and showing off that slightly darker side of yourself?

I really wanted to just be a little ball of positivity, but that wouldn't have worked. That would have ruined the game. If I'd have gone yes, you're right and you're doing brilliantly and by the way, you chose a traitor it would have ruined it. So I had to do it in a different way. I slightly had to take a step back and watch them kill each other.

Thursday 17 November 2022

Interview: Martin Clunes on Doc Martin Christmas Special

The final series has gone out on a high in the ratings with viewers asking for more.

It is lovely so many people tuned in and enjoyed this last series.

The audience figures are very gratifying. If you were looking for another commission you'd punch the air, but even though we are not looking for another commission, we can still punch the air because it is nice to go out on a high.

When I went to have my flu jab at my local medical centre the day after the final episode went out one of the doctors said to me 'that was a fantastic episode last night'. That was really nice from a doctor, and the nurse who'd given my me jab said 'shut up I haven't watched it yet'. That was gratifying.We hope all those loyal viewers will enjoy the Christmas special.

What was it like on set when you filmed the final scenes of the series?

It was absolutely lovely. It was a hot summer's day and we were filming a scene from episode seven with Jessica Ransom, Joe Absolom, Vincent Franklin and Beth Goddard. The sea looked like it was the Mediterranean, and just out of vision on the left was beach full of people doing what people do in Cornwall, families loving the beach and the ocean and dogs swimming around. It felt like it was the right way to say goodbye to Cornwall.

It was emotional but I didn't see anyone crying. It was more elation to have got to the end of nearly six months of filming.

The scene where you threw the For Sale notice for the Doc's house over the cliff echoed a scene from the very first episode. Were there moments from the final series which tied up loose ends from previous series?

It was an echo to a scene at the end of the first episode in series one. In our mind the big revelation was when the Doc, who's always hated dogs, let the dog, Chicken (played by Taffy) into the house in the final scene of the final series, having always shoved him out the door from the word go.

What is your favourite memory of the whole ten series?

It was all jam. May be just that memory of being on the beach when it was lovely and sunny and Cornish. I couldn't single out one memory.

Did you take a souvenir from the production and/or Port Isaac to remind you of your time on Doc Martin?

I really wanted the spaniel model which stood outside the pharmacy for people to put money in for charity. It was pointed out that it belonged to a hire company and that they don't usually part with them. But somehow my wife got it and gave it to me. It is now very proudly in the entrance hall to our house.

What can we look forward to in the Christmas episode?

Snow, Christmas lights, the lovely Claire Bloom came back to play the character of the Doc's mother, and Ron Cook as Santa.

You can imagine the doctor isn't too keen on Christmas for his own tortured reasons. It's never stopped making me laugh, I don't know why because if it was a real person who had had such an awful upbringing, you'd feel nothing but pity for them, but because it is him it just makes me laugh.

How did his tortured childhood affect the Doc's approach to the festive season?

As a child his parents abandoned him on Christmas Day, leaving him with a pencil set and an orange in his Christmas stocking.

It has just slightly scarred him, and also with his cynical view of everything, he thinks it is all a lot of nonsense and was an invention to hide a Pagan festival.

His son James is trying to get into the spirit of Christmas and Louisa is trying to engage with James' engagement so there's a sort of impasse between Louisa, James and the Doc.

Then there's Leonard played by Ron Cook, who has his own personal problems with Christmas - his wife, who loved Christmas, died five years ago just two days before Christmas - although he is solving it by entering into the celebration and playing Santa.

We saw a softer, more compassionate Doc in the final scenes of the last series, does he return to being his grumpy self in the Christmas episode?

The soft side was due to a massive loss of blood! That's his excuse. He is a bit grumpy because of all the festive nonsense, and he is not sure his son should be infected by such nonsense, and wants him to place it where he places Christmas in his mind.

He manages to upset the children of Portwenn by closing down Santa's Grotto?

He thinks Santa may have something contagious because he is itching and scratching, and the children can't be put at risk, even though it is upsetting for them. His son James is so upset at not meeting Santa he tries to run away to the North Pole in search of him.

James doesn't want to speak to his father, nobody wants to speak to him - but he's been there before.

When was the Christmas episode filmed?

It was filmed in February. It was the first thing we shot, before shooting the series. We needed North Cornwall's trees not to have any leaves, and have it looking wintry, and it was. I discovered electric clothes to keep me warm. They are fantastic. It's a gilet, and you use a power bank, like you'd charge your phone with, and it has three different settings to keep you warm. I turned it up to the max.

There was a major storm which affected the filming - the Christmas tree on the Platt had to be taken down before it was blown down?

It was a major storm, Storm Eunice, and one day we had to get all the actors out of the trailers and into the production office for safety, because the wind was rocking the trailers around. The props team had to take down the huge Christmas tree they'd placed on the Platt for fear of it being blown over. When we were filming in the studio in a barn on the farm there was a worry, but we carried on.

Just a month after finishing filming Doc Martin you flew to Papua New Guinea to begin filming a new documentary series for ITV about the Islands of the Pacific?

It was absolutely fantastic, and it felt very different from the first series of the Islands of the Pacific. Because of the logistics of Papua New Guinea, we were far more embedded. We lived in this village on the Trobriand Islands where they built us huts and we lived with them for the whole time we were there - seven to eight days. We got to see their lives, and visited other villages nearby and got to really see the tribal nature of how they live.

We then went to the the Philippines, and finally to Guam and Halau.

Having spent so much time away this year you must be looking forward to spending time at home with your family at Christmas?

We had six days between the first two blocks of filming to make space for the World Clydesdale Show, of which I am president.(Martin is a keen heavy horse enthusiast, himself owning two Clydesdale horses, Ronnie and Bruce) I got to spend one night at home then went up to Aberdeen for the show.

Every morning I woke up and I wondered where I was and which bed, I was in. This morning I woke up at quarter to six thinking 'where am I and where have I got to go'. It was the first morning I've thought, I live here. It's a real adjustment when you wake up and look around the room, looking for familiar things, and thinking which hut am I in?

What are your plans for Christmas?

We have all the family coming to us, which is a joy, and we all share the cooking.

What are your favourite memories of Christmas?

I remember the weight of the stocking on the end of the bed. Mum would wrap each present in paper, things she had gathered through the year, which goes on here now at Christmas.

What was your favourite Christmas present?

I was very excited when I got a Corgi James Bond car which had a little figure you could flip out the roof. But it broke.

What would you most like for Christmas this year?

I'd like a trip somewhere - we buy each other trips rather than stuff -last year we went to Madeira.

What is next?

I start working on a new drama for ITV next year about county lines crime.


Caroline Catz plays Louisa Ellingham

What was the reaction from viewers to the final series of Doc Martin?

It was a lovely experience having people coming up and saying how much they were enjoying it and how they didn't want it to come to an end. It is really sad that it is over. It has been such a huge part of my life, and my family's life, but it is absolutely the right moment to close the book on our story.

I am excited about that, there are new things for me, but also because it has been so successful and it has given so much happiness to so many people, including all of us who are in it. It is a winner for all.

You have been in Prague filming a new project were you able to watch the series as it was transmitted?

I have been watching Doc Martin mostly on catch up. I have just finished filming in Prague and it is lovely to be back here and hearing everyone's reaction to Doc Martin. It has been such a loved show.

I haven't actually watched the final episode because I can't honestly bear to watch it. I decided I have to find the right moment to do that because I am going to be really sad. I got so many texts and emails and phone calls from people who were really moved by it, and thought it was a really beautiful ending.

Do you remember your final scene?

My final scene was with Eileen Atkins, in the kitchen of the Doc and Louisa's house for the final episode. Eileen and I got there a bit early before we started rehearsing the scene, and Nigel Cole the director, put music on in the studio for us. So Eileen and I had a little dance in the kitchen to the Rolling Stones. That was probably the highlight of the series - having a kitchen disco with Eileen. Eileen has definitely got some amazing moves. We did have a laugh. Then I did the scene, burst into tears and left, and got a plane to Prague.

What was it like filming the final scenes and saying goodbye to the cast, crew and Port Isaac?

It was terrible getting in the car to finally leave. I finished the scene, and Martin bought me a really beautiful present and wrote me a lovely card. I went to say goodbye, burst into tears and said 'I don't want to go'. 

I also had to say goodbye to little Elliott who plays James and that was a heartbreaker. He was so sweet; he was worried about saying goodbye to everyone as well. I gave him a little gift and we said our goodbyes and he was adorable. He was bought a bike by the production. My last memory when I was driving away was waving at Elliott, but by then he was so ensconced in his new bike all the sadness was gone and he was very happy.

It is ridiculous how good Elliott is. He is such a wise little guy and was always making us laugh our heads off, which was a bit of a problem some times. Sometimes we would be in the middle of a scene and he would say 'sorry, can I just say something' and he would come out with a little musing. He is a very special little kid. I am sure he has a career in acting ahead of him. He has such a winning approach.

We all had a lovely barbecue and party on the beach on the Friday evening before we finished filming. Jessica Ransom ( who plays Morwenna) and I went for a swim at Port Gaverne before the party. Our families were there. It is such a special place.

Did you take home a souvenir from the production and/or Port Isaac to remind you of the 18 years you have been working on Doc Martin?

I was very lucky I got a very beautiful painting which had been on the wall outside Martin and Louisa's bedroom. The painting, by a local artist, was of all the roof tops of Port Isaac, from the harbour wall. The art department said it was the first painting  they bought in an art gallery in Wadebridge when the series started in 2004.

I love it, and it now sits in my house and makes me happy every day.

I came away with a couple of Louisa's dresses and a couple of really nice knitted tops made by a company called O'Pioneers. The knitters who made the tops had a WhatsApp group, and they told me would message each other when they spotted Louisa wearing one of their knits.

You filmed the Christmas special in February, before starting filming the final series, what was it like seeing Port Isaac dressed for Christmas?

To be there in February, and to make February look like Christmas when we had all just packed away our own Christmas decorations was quite strange. It was beautiful to see it all lit up with Christmas decorations everywhere. I guess it was a bit puzzling for the tourists because suddenly there were Christmas decorations hanging from all the lamp posts and the shop windows were dressed.

The weather was challenging - there was a major storm Eunice— how did that affect filming?

We were filming in a studio in a barn and we were safe in there, but there were all sorts of things flying around outside.

I got a call from my mum who had seen the news about the storm hitting Cornwall, and asking me if I was OK. I went back to the back of the studio to talk to her and I was telling her we were all OK, and we were being well looked after when one of the sparks shouted over to me to say my hair was on fire. I was standing by a light trying to keep warm, and my pony tail was up against this massive light and there was smoke coming from it. I had no idea. My mum heard this and I had to reassure her.

What happens in the Christmas episode?

We have a very disappointed James on our hands because he didn't get to meet Santa, and a very indignant Doc Martin, and it is baby Mary's first Christmas.

Louisa doesn't want James to be disappointed and when she tells him about the lantern parade in Portwenn when she was a child, he asks her to organise one even though it is Christmas Eve the following day. He is so persuasive Louisa decides she will try to organise a parade. But unfortunately, in true Doc Martin style, there are many complicated events that happen to hinder this happening in a smooth way.

James is really upset when he sees his dad having an argument with Santa and he runs away. Louisa and Martin are absolutely distraught until they get a call from Ruth to say James is safe with her.

Louisa is terrified something awful has happened to Martin when he doesn't return to the village after treating a patient. There is this constant peril and tension all the way through the episode, whether or not they will be reunited, will Christmas ever happen.

It is a very beautiful Christmassy episode in this lovely snowy backdrop of Port Isaac, in a way you've never seen it before. It is a really lovely way to close the book on the story. It is another ending, but a very final and very beautiful one and funny too. There's aways a twist at the end, never straight forward, and quite apocalyptic. 

What are your own favourite Christmas memories?

Decorating the Christmas tree with our kids has been a lovely thing as a parent. I definitely identified with Louisa's enjoyment of getting a Christmas tree.

Our Christmas tree does look overly done, certainly not a tasteful Christmas tree. I just throw everything at it.

What is your favourite Christmas present?

My husband and I give ourself the gift of no Christmas presents to each other which takes the pressure off us so we can focus on kids and family members and not get in a tizzy about what to get each other.

You have been away from home filming for much of this year, you must be looking forward to spending time at home with your family? Do you have any plans?

It's been a brilliant, exciting, nourishing year full of really great work, so I am very happy to be back at home in London with the family. We are staying home for Christmas, and really looking forward to that.

You have done the voice over for the documentary Farewell to Doc Martin, which will follow the transmission of the Christmas special.

It is a lovely way to say goodbye to Doc Martin.

You started work on a new project soon after finishing filming Doc Martin?

I flew to Prague to film A Small Light, which is an eight-part Disney series, following the story of Miep Gies, a Dutch woman who risked her life to shelter Anne Frank's family from the Nazis for more than two years during World War 11.

What is next?

A Buffalo Pictures production about Barbara Hulanicki who founded the Biba store.