Martin Clunes returns to Cornwall to play the nation’s favourite grumpy medic in a brand new series of Doc Martin for ITV.

Martin Clunes reprises his role as Dr. Martin Ellingham, the GP with a brusque bedside manner and a phobia of blood, in eight new episodes of the ratings winning drama produced by Buffalo Pictures, and set in the idyllic, sleepy hamlet of Portwenn in Cornwall.

Picturesque Port Isaac on the North Cornwall coast is the setting for this popular series.

Caroline Catz plays Doc Martin’s wife Louisa. The couple married in the last series, but their marital harmony was short lived. After a life-threatening incident, Louisa decided to take their son James Henry to stay with her mother in Spain while they try to work out their problems.

The Doc is heartbroken by their departure, and realises he has got to make changes if he wants to win them back, and be a family again.

Martin Clunes says: “I’m thrilled to be back on the beautiful North Cornish coast to shoot series seven of Doc Martin. The Doc has some serious work to do if he is going to persuade Louisa to come back.”

Audience figures since the series was introduced in 2004 have averaged in excess of 9 million viewers.

Returning to the series, Dame Eileen Atkins plays Doc Martin’s formidable Aunt Ruth. She doesn’t suffer fools, just like her nephew. In the new series Aunt Ruth faces a medical emergency, which she tries to ignore, but the Doc won’t let her.

Ian McNeice returns as local restaurateur Bert Large, with Joe Absolom as his tolerant son Al. With the restaurant struggling to stay afloat Bert dreams up another moneymaking scheme.

Meanwhile Al is setting up in business with Ruth. He’s renovated her farmhouse, and is opening a bed and breakfast to attract tourists for fishing holidays. The first guests are, however, far from impressed.

John Marquez returns to play eccentric local police officer PC Joe Penhale, who often panics and creates more problems than he solves as he attempts to instill law and order into the community. In the new series he is getting to grips with a newly issued Taser gun, with disastrous consequences.

Jessica Ransom is back as receptionist, Morwenna Newcross, who is looking for a pay rise for trying to keep the doctor in line.

More than 800 local people turned up for auditions in Port Isaac for extras roles in the new series earlier this month. As the doors of the church hall opened for the auditions there was a queue of 150 babies in prams and pushchairs hoping to be selected for the role of 11-month-old James Henry, the son of Doc Martin and Louisa.