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31/07/2008

Buenos Dias, Guten Tag And Welcome Back 'Doc Martin'

UK distributor Portman Film & Television, part of the Digital Rights Group (DRG), has announced a range of deals for hit series 'Doc Martin', which sees the production of a Spanish version of the show and a second series of the German version, whilst UK producer Buffalo Pictures has secured a re-commission in the UK for a fourth series.
The comedy drama 'Doc Martin', which follows the truculent and tactless doctor as he causes mayhem in a small community, is available as a finished programme or as a scripted changed format. Spanish terrestrial broadcaster Antena 3 has picked up all 23 available scripts of the changed format, as well as optioning further series. Notro Films went into production in June and Antena 3 plans an initial run of eight episodes for primetime broadcast later this year. The series is being filmed on location in Asturias, northern Spain, with Gonzalo de Castro (7 vidas) in the lead role. The title of the show in Spain is yet to be confirmed.
This follows the success of the first season of German version 'Doktor Martin' in a primetime slot on ZDF. Featuring Axel Milberg, star of long running German drama 'Tatort', the series consistently achieved a higher than average audience share. The public broadcaster has now signed for a further series, provisionally planned for air in Spring 2009. Currently in production by Berlin based Phoenix Film & Television, this second series is being shot on location in the German village of Neuharlingersiel on the North Sea.
The show has proved a huge success in the UK and has now been commissioned for a fourth series by broadcaster ITV1. Starring Martin Clunes ('William and Mary', 'The Booze Cruise', 'Goodbye Mr Chips') as the fractious doctor, the third series gained an impressive average of 8.5 million viewers (35.8%), well above the channel’s slot average, peaking at 10.1 million viewers and was the highest rated drama on ITV last year.
Portman Film & Television has also achieved great international success with the UK version of 'Doc Martin', with the third series recently launched. The drama airs in approximately 100 territories worldwide, including Australia (ABC), New Zealand (TV One), Canada (VisionTV), Finland (MTV3), Norway (NRK1) and a range of territories via the Hallmark Channel including Italy, Hungary, Russia, Malaysia and Romania. In the UK, Doc Martin is produced for ITV1 by Buffalo Pictures in association with Homerun Productions. The series is produced by Philippa Braithwaite, executive produced by Mark Crowdy and directed by Ben Bolt.
Chris Bartlett, Head of Television Sales at Portman Film & Television commented today, "Drama programming from the UK is in demand at the moment and international buyers are increasingly keen to acquire scripted changed formats for local production. Doc Martin continues to prove a runaway success for us both as a finished programme and a scripted changed format – with the clash of cultures theme easily adaptable and recognizable to audiences throughout the world".
(KMcA/JM)
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