HIS grumpy antics have captivated more than 11 million viewers, and Doc Martin's fans are eagerly awaiting more of the same as filming starts on the fourth series of the hugely popular comedy drama.
Filming has started in Cornwall of the latest instalment of the series starring Martin Clunes. He returns to play the curmudgeonly Dr Martin Ellingham, known for routinely upsetting the fictional community of Port Wenn on the North Cornwall coast.
The filming of the new series has just begun with the bulk of the scenes being shot in the fishing village of Port Isaac.
Last year, controversy marred the filming of the third series, with some villagers calling for it to be banned altogether claiming that the additional traffic was causing chaos in the narrow streets.
Local residents described the filming of Doc Martin as "disaster for Port Isaac" complaining of parking problems and visitors being unable able to find holiday accommodation because "all the cottages were rented out to the crew".
But a spokesman for ITV told the Western Morning News: "We have a good relationship with the people of Port Isaac, who are helpful and welcoming and we always try to minimise the number of days on set."
Immune from the controversy surrounding the filming, Doc Martin fans will be waiting anxiously to see how the last minute wedding day disaster that ended the third series turns out.
Producer Philippa Braithwaite said: "We are delighted to be back in Cornwall to make this fourth series. There are plenty of surprises in store for the doc, and compelling story lines."
In series four, Martin Clunes is again joined by Caroline Catz as Louisa while Stephanie Cole plays Aunt Joan who, while despairing of the doc's habitual caustic comments, faithfully supports her hapless nephew. Fans of school headmistress Louisa will be disappointed by unconfirmed rumours that she is to leave the village in this series and, more worrying for Doc Martin's 11.5 million viewers, that he may soon follow. But any exit will not be before trying to conquer his inconvenient comical aversion to blood by returning to his former high-flying career as a vascular surgeon. Filming is due to finish by early August and it is scheduled to be screened in the autumn.