International actor, Ian McNeice has a new spring in his step in the latest season of "Doc Martin".
Last year the actor underwent a knee replacement surgery in order to be able to shoot season 9 of the hugely popular show.
Season 9 premiered on ITV Choice recently and airs on Mondays at 8pm.
McNeice, who plays the character Bert Large said they have been lucky in having the luxury of a gap year that helps the writers write a great script.
“The writers and producers have a long time to really work out the scripts and the arch lines for all the characters. And it pays off because when we have our scripts, it’s pretty solid,” he said about why the show has been such a success.
This season, Bert is trying to escape the attentions of Caitlin, a lady who has held a torch for Bert since she laundered the napkins at his restaurant.
Bert has been running away from her ever since she made overtures to him when they went on a date.
“Caitlin always had a soft spot for Bert. They had dinner together one night where Bert got absolutely frightened by Caitlin’s behaviour because she was very upfront, and he didn’t want anything to do with her. Then when Bert was down in the dumps having lost everything, his restaurant, his home, his girlfriend, Caitlin offered him a job at her grocery store in the village. He accepted her offer until he could stand it no more, because she was making advances to him the whole time. So he went back to working at the pub, the Crab and Lobster with his son, Al,” said McNeice.
McNeice - who thought he was not relevant, recently found that he has a group of fans and was shocked to find himself the centre of attention of group of fans who all love his Doc Martin character, Bert Large.
“There’s this group in America called the Bert Large Lovers, which is extraordinary. It is now up to 2 000 members. Gloria, the lady who runs it, comes to Port Isaac to arrange dinners for the members, to which I am invited to attend. This year she presented Bertstock. I’m a sex symbol at nearly 70, who would have thought it? My children are mortified by it,” he said.
McNeice said filming the show is always a pleasant experience, and says he is always pleased to return to Port Isaac, where he creates a home away from home.
“'Doc Martin' is something I really look forward to. We have been very fortunate we have been able to return to the same house since day one of filming in 2004. We literally lock up our home in London and move to Port Isaac, lock, stock and barrel. We are here for the entire period, and we just love it. When the sun shines there’s no better place to be."