Finding Great Characterization

I love reading a book with characters who really draw you into their life, their story. Movies, too, with great characters enthrall me and make me wish I could create characters like those.

Recently I have run across a British television comedy drama that I am absolutely crazy about: Doc Martin. The show began in 2006, has four years of shows, which I am trying to slowly watch and savor. And I just read online that there will be another year’s worth of shows in 2011. But I probably won’t get to watch those until they become available on NetFlix or something. (heavy sigh here)

The show is set in a sleepy Cornish village, Portweinn, which is beautiful and makes me want to go there every time I watch an episode. Portweinn has a population of very normal people, as well as those unique people, who greatly add to the enjoyment of seeing their particular quirky traits or problems.

But it is the main cast who pull a viewer back repeatedly to the show. Local GP, Martin Ellingham, is the star of the show, the focus of the village, and a very unique character. He is brilliant, was a successful London surgeon who developed haemophobia (a fear of blood) and could no longer operate. He moves to this small village to be their GP, but the village people quickly discover he is severely lacking in social skills and has basically no beside manner. He is brash, boldly truthful (“Are you stupid?” being one of his common lines), and yet oddly interesting. His character grows on you. As do all of the main and side characters.

I would recommend that any writer wanting to see an excellent cast of characters watch this series. To learn more about it see Wikipedia’s article on Doc Martin ( or ITV’s information on Doc Martin (

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