The doctor's surname, Ellingham, is an anagram of the surname of the programme's creator, Dominic Minghella.
This series is credited as "arising from" the film Saving Grace. However the main character, played by Martin Clunes in both cases, is called Dr. Martin Bamford in the film and Dr. Martin Ellingham in this series. Also, the personality and the back-story of the two characters are different.
Sky Television originally made two TV movies with the Dr. Martin Bamford character from Saving Grace, called Doc Martin (2001) (TV) and Doc Martin and the Legend of the Cloutie (2003) (TV). Martin Clunes' production company signed a six-film contract, at two films a year for three years, but Sky Pictures folded after the first two were completed. Clunes then took the concept to ITV, who liked the basic idea but wanted it to be more than just a "fish out of water" story. So, the Doctor's back-story and personality were changed. It's possible the name change came about for copyright reasons.
The second series was dedicated to John Coleman (IV), props manager, who died when he fell from a cliff in Port Isaac during a break in the filming of the programme.
The third series was dedicated to Carrie Hilton, casting director, who died of cancer in August 2007.
Quite often during the series there are references to people being "a bit Bodmin". This is a reference to the fact that Bodmin was once the county town, and so the home of the Cornwall County Lunatic Asylum.
Although Martin Clunes' character is the only one to carry over (with significant back-story changes) from the telefilms, Tristan Sturrock joins Clunes as the only actor (thus far) to appear in both versions of Doc Martin.
In the UK the show has been a ratings success for ITV1, the third series achieving ITV1's best midweek drama performance in the 9pm slot since December 2004. The final episode of the third series was watched by over 10 million viewers and netted the programme's highest-ever viewing figures.
Martin's hobby is fixing antique clocks.
Martin's entire wardrobe consists of suits and shirts; the only time he is not in a suit is at bedtime and will even wear suits on his days off.
SPOILER: Although in reality full years go on between shooting the series, we are always led to believe that barely a month or so has occurred between each series. The only exception is Louisa leaving at the end of series three and returning back to Portwenn in series four six months later heavily pregnant.
Fictional Portwenn is shot in the real village of Port Isaac in Cornwall between tourist seasons.
Although this show prides itself on being shot on location in Cornwall, the entire set of Doc Martin's house (other than the exterior) is built in the barn of a farm outside Port Isaac. The set has movable walls to accommodate camera work and equipment.
Although the fictional Martin Ellingham hates dogs with a fiery passion and is often seen chasing strays from his surgery, the actor who portrays him, Martin Clunes, is a great lover of dogs and brings them to the sets with him every day.
Martin Clunes admitted he always felt terribly guilty about having to chase and yell the stray dog that appears throughout the series for his scenes as he is a great lover of dogs in particular.
SPOILER: It's mentioned by the characters in series four that the stray dog that hangs around the surgery died somehow between the end of series three and the start of series four. Although no one feels the need to elaborate on how this exactly happened, they make suggestive comments that Ellingham murdered the dog. In real life, the dog that was used to film those shots had passed away.
Martin Clunes' wife, 'Phillipa Braithwaite', is one of the producers on the show.
The set for the school where Louisa teaches is actually a restaurant that was originally a primary school.
Tourists have mistaken the actual village of St. Wenn in Cornwall for the fictional Portwenn in Doc Martin. Tourists have asked the villagers if St. Wenn's where Doc Martin is filmed. They are directed to the actual film location, Port Isaac about 15 miles away.
A long running joke is the suggestive names of some of the minor patients (often referred to only by name and not actually seen) - for example, in Series 6 there was Dan Gleballs and Ben Twilley.
The cast was not available for a long enough time in 2006 for an entire series to be filmed, so a 2-hour special was made instead.
Towards the end of the episode, Doc Martin refers to Mrs Dunwich (Miriam Margolyes) as Mrs Winchelsea and shortly afterwards he refers to Mr Newcross (Peter Vaughan) as Mr Dunwich. These were not continuity errors in the script; instead they alluded to Doc Martin's poor bedside manner and social skills which cause him to confuse his patients' names.