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.

[UPDATE: Doc Martin will begin airing on public TV stations in January 2019, Acorn and APT announced June 13.]

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.

59 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.

    • Doc Martin is the reason I joined Acorn TV, too. I love this show, and we seem to be stuck with Season 8. I figured we would be able to get Season 9 by now.

    • I agree I did the same thing. I want to see season 9 soon keep your fingers crossed. In the mean time try watching the first season of “REGGIE PERRIN” Martin clune’s comedy show.

    • Did you watch “A Place to Call Home”? It is fantastic. The Heart Guy is good. Line of Duty very good..

      Just finished “Single-handed” and enjoyed that. Doing “800 Words” and we love it. Going to

      give “Sisters of War” a try.

  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.

      • I read about some accusations being made against Mr. McLachlan. It wasn’t clear but looks like that might have had something to do with the series’ problem.

        • The Seven Network picked up the Blake series. By all accounts, McLachlan successfully defended himself against the sexual harassment charges, which were dropped; he also filed defamation suits against ABC and some others. For some crazy reason, TPTB decided to continue the show in telemovie format, with Lucien disappearing and Jean, now his new wife, taking a more central role. SMH.

          • Please edit with “Spoiler Alert” at the beginning of your comment. LOL!!!!

  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.

    • You are so right! I bought Series 8 from Amazon and it is not all that great. With long delays between seasons, I could easily lose interest before Series 9 comes around in 2019. Acorn TV will probably lose out in the end as their greed contributes to the loss of viewers. They don’t seem to understand their senior viewers!

  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.
    Carol

    • Try your library , we watched All 8 seasons from ours. My cousin suggested we watch it. We love it. Just waiting for season 9 now.

    • We got Netflix and have watched all doc Martin from beginning
      I think it only goes to season 6 but it has been fun .
      we love love doc Martin
      they ate stupid to stop such great program!

  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 !!😡😡😡🇱🇷

  15. pk March 23, 2018 – When I didn’t see any re-runs of DOC MARTIN recently, which has kept me going, I had to find out what was holding up DM and Season 8. I’m sick of Poldark, Foyle’s War, and Agatha Christie’s Poirot. programs. I hope things straightened out soon. I miss DM so much Thank you.

  16. we love the doc martin show we watch it every week a wonderful show and the actors r wonderful to and we will be so glad when the new seson starts

  17. I watched Series 8 over two days on YouTube. Then they were gone. I thought this series was very good, and well worth waiting for. I do hope to see them on PBS soon.

  18. And I thought that the 3 month delay vs the UK release was bad……I can’t imagine that the streaming folks are making so much money that PBS couldn’t throw in a few $$ to stop this ridiculous postponement. It seems to me to be too much greed from the distributor and PBS not clueing into the new way of doing business.

  19. Doc Martin is one of the most brilliantly entertaining shows to come along in a long time! The characters are cast so well, I even miss Auntie Joan and Elaine. Even Martin’s parents. Each of the characters brings so much insight and color into who Martin is. My favorite episodes so far throughout the series are: Stewart and his imaginary squirrel, The rare bird storyline and when Mrs. Tisshel goes bonkers, with the ending of that series culminating in a Romeo and Julietesque ending. Kudos to some of these writers.
    For each series we all had to wait a year in between to see the next series. One post was right you can borrow these from your Public Library or I have found them in used book stores. My real sadness (besides waiting for season 8 to air on PBS) is going to be seeing the end of season 9.

    • I meant to say we all had to wait. one year in between “seasons” — not series
      Also, according to all that I have been reading— The 9th season will be Doc Martin’ s last in the series “Say it isn’t so”—– maybe they’ll change their minds— we can only hope!

  20. Love Doc Martin. Will subscribe anywhere or buy dvd for season 9 asap. Acorn tv promised Doc Martin then did not deliver.

  21. We love doc Martin even in Alabama. Please keep filming and bring us this great British comedy. Thanks.

  22. I also originally joined Acorn for Doc Martin as it took so long for PBS to air them. However I’ve gotten hooked on many of the shows Acorn shows. The only down side is some of the shows only have one or two seasons.

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