Caroline Catz. Picture: Supplied
Caroline Catz. Picture: Supplied
Caroline Catz
Caroline Catz
In season eight of Doc Martin, which returns to ITV Choice on October 10, Caroline Catz’s character, Louisa, who plays Doc’s long-suffering wife, faces a dilemma. She’s no longer enjoying her job as a headmistress and desperately wants to spend more time with her son, James Henry, and husband, Martin.

She thinks child therapy and counselling could be a way forward to providing a better work/life balance. But it means time-consuming training while she holds down a full-time job.

Although Martin is supporting her as part of his effort to be a better husband and father, she knows he is sceptical about her plans.

Where do we see Louisa at the start of the season?

We have arrived at a new place with Martin and Louisa. There is no more discussion about whether they should stay together, they have decided that, for better or for worse, they need to make a go of it for James. 

They have acknowledged that they love one another and want to be together, even though there are many areas in which they are incompatible.

It’s a bit terrifying for both of them, but it is something they are going to try. You see Martin making more of an effort than usual, booking restaurant outings and trying to work out their plans and have a nice time. But it never goes according to plan.

Louisa makes decisions in the new season. Tell us about them?

Louisa is making big decisions. She is preoccupied with James's well-being and with where she is in her career. As a headmistress, so much time is spent on administration and it’s not really the stuff she loves, which is working with children. She’s having to stay up late to do paperwork.

From looking into it and having friends who are teachers, you realise that they are under massive pressure.

Louisa is no longer enjoying her work, and she wants to be spending time with her young child. She has great loyalty to the school and she feels terribly torn: she doesn’t want to leave the school she was at as a child, then as a teacher and now as the head. It has been the centre of her life and now she feels like she’s being forced to rethink.

But then she misses James speaking his first word. Everybody in the village but her seems to know James has uttered his first word. That was the big wake-up call for her.

But the training Louisa has to undertake means Martin has to take over more of the child care duties.

Louisa and Martin are trying really hard. Is this strange for you?

It is really touching to see Louisa and Martin trying to exist together. I find it really realistic as well. Often you see couples and you think, "How on earth are they together?" It is interesting to see the way people have to contort their personality to remain in a relationshipthey have had to make a lot of compromises to make the relationship work.

You see Louisa and Martin go through that process of adjusting to one another, not fighting the fact they are going to be together. There is no running away this time.

What’s the one thing your character fears?

She has a secret fear that James could easily become a mini Doc. She has to hide that from Martin. She doesn’t want him to know that she doesn’t want her son to become like him, because that would be really insulting and counter-productive.

In this season you have been able to bring your own passion for vintage fashion to your character’s wardrobe.

One of my favourite designers, Justine Tabac, who specialises in designs using British vintage prints, has designed a dress for Louisa. Clothes are so intrinsic to who you are that, as an actor, when you are preparing for a role they are a starting point. I really love Justine’s attention to detail, the prints are so pretty and beautiful that they look really modern.

I was thrilled to wear one of Justine’s dresses.

* Catch Caroline Catz on Doc Martin on ITV Choice on October 10 at 8pm.

A_Birjalal