Acorn TV delays release of new ‘Doc Martin’ episodes on public TV

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Martin Clunes, left, plays the title role and Eileen Atkins is Aunt Ruth in the British comedy “Doc Martin.”

The latest season of Doc Martin will arrive at public TV stations later than expected, prompting at least one major-market station to temporarily drop the hit British comedy from its schedule.

Rights holder Acorn TV has extended its exclusive streaming window for Season 8 and has not yet set a date for wider release. Public TV stations usually premiere new seasons of Doc Martin in January or February through distributor American Public Television.

Acorn spokesperson Chad Campbell said longer exclusive streaming periods are becoming the norm for over-the-top platforms. Acorn is a subscription service specializing in British TV, offering on-demand access to many series broadcast on public TV. Its lineup of dramas and mysteries includes Poldark, Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders and Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

“Everyone in the industry is looking for ways to differentiate themselves, and it’s become common practice to have larger exclusive windows,” Campbell said. “We’re increasing that exclusivity window for some of our signature shows and didn’t plan to make a final decision on a public television window for a few months still.”

“It’s a very competitive and growing marketplace” for streaming video on demand and broadcast, Campbell added, “so windowing for titles on different platforms continues to evolve for everyone.”

Acorn also hasn’t set a release date for the new season of A Place to Call Home. The Australian drama, which premiered in the U.S. in 2015 through APT syndication, has also become popular with public TV audiences. When APT first offered the series during its 2015 Fall Marketplace, it was a top pick among station programmers.

Viewers last saw new episodes of the Britcom about grumpy physician Doc Martin in 2015. Production company Buffalo Pictures, run by star Martin Clunes and his wife Philippa Braithwaite, takes a year off between productions. The series will conclude with Season 9.

Nine Network in St. Louis finally gave up waiting for new Doc Martin episodes. “We’ve been monitoring the release of Season 8 for months,” said spokesperson Matt Huelskamp. The station also started hearing from frustrated fans.

Because viewers “have seen previous seasons of Doc Martin multiple times,” Huelskamp said, “we felt that it was time to offer a fresh series.”

Nine Network chose the Australian program 800 Words, also distributed by APT, for Doc Martin’s Thursday slot. Huelskamp said the comedy-drama offers “interesting characters and breathtaking scenery. We felt that it would have a similar appeal to our viewers.”

Other programmers are concerned as well, said APT’s Eric Luskin, VP, premium service and syndication.

The timing of the Season 8 release of Doc Martin for public TV “was certainly a topic” at APT’s annual Fall Marketplace in November, Luskin said. Since then, Luskin has received at least five emails from programmers requesting updates.

“Based on the inquiries, we know there is an eager public television audience ready to tune in,” said APT spokesperson Jamie Haines.

22 thoughts on “Acorn TV delays release of new ‘Doc Martin’ episodes on public TV

  1. I joined Acorn for Doc Martin. Now we are waiting until who knows when. I don’t see anything interesting to see. Just a waste of money I guess.

  2. It is Such a relief to hear officially that there will be more Doc Martin series to come in the future! Thank you Phillipa Martin and all cast and crew. We love you and I could not cope without having Doc Martin to look forward to. My son’s bought me the box sets for Christmas which helps filL the gap between series…s. Best wishes from Pat

  3. So frustrating to have our viewing pleasures, (Doc Martin, Dr. Blake)controlled by the tv executives. Love both and are gravely disappointed re: cancellation of Dr. Blake! and the long wait for Doc Martin.
    Avid PBS watcher.

  4. love Doc martin serries. The whole cast was and id fantastic. Louisa is the the thing that makes it work for me. Classy lassie.

  5. Have been waiting anxiously finally found something that we both enjoyed and now they are delaying my husband is very ill but ask every week if the new season has started . Am sadden to tell him no !

  6. Keep waiting for the return of Doc Martin….very SAD to see Dr. Blake go…..only things worth watching any more…and now great shows are going away. Guess it’s back to books!

  7. I’m a 63 year old fan of Doc Martin in Topeka, Kansas. I watch the show courtesy of our local Topeka Public Broadcasting TV Station- KTWU. Please don’t keep us waiting for a new season much longer. Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. At some point we will find other shows to watch and entertain us with hundreds of channels available. Doc Martin will become a forgotten favorite.

  8. I am so disappointed that Doc Martin is not showing on PBS. This is the only program worth watching on television. At least it would be nice to run the re-runs from the beginning so those of us that missed the beginning of Doc Martin can catch up until this series return.

  9. So far I am not impressed with the new season that I have seen. I don’t recognize anyone that they have hired to supposedly look like the characters in past seasons. I think maybe we just need to cease trying to watch the strange new show CALLED Doc Martin and turn out our lights early.

  10. Netflix didn’t carry season 7 & 8…. ordered from amazon … season 7 great. Still waiting. For 8 … wonderful characters/acting is super …. we are addicted

  11. I’m really disappointed reading the above … Doc Martin, George Gently, and New Tricks are ALL so much better (written, acted, filmed) than most the shoot-em-up, show some bare ass crap that’s on American TV ,… Sad, those characters where all so real, so understandable, so human. Thanks for the wonderful memories!

  12. I think doc Martin is the best tv series ITV has ever aired. If they don’t have episodes of doc Martin I will drop my support of ITV. I pay them monthly to see doc Martin, no other show they air even comes close. ITV needs to realize what a great thing they have going for them!!!!!!!!

  13. I’m going to purchase season 8 in dvd. Don’t want to play the network waiting games. You don’t make happy customers by penalizing them, Acorn.

  14. Doc Martin is reason I signed up for Acorn TV. All caught up on series 1-8.
    Can’t get access to series 9 or 10. Do they really exist???
    Cancelling subscription to AcornTV immediately !!😡😡😡🇱🇷

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