Bert is in his late 50s. He trained and has worked as a plumber for more than 25 years. He was married to Mary who died very young and left him to bring up Al, his son on his own. Bert worries that Al will never be able to cope without him, “He’ll be an orphan if I go, Doc”. However, it is Al that seems to do most of the actual work in the partnership. After an intervention by Doc Martin, Bert finally lets Al train in computing at Truro. This is the beginning of the end of the plumbing business and eventually Bert gives up plumbing completely and goes into the catering trade by opening a restaurant, when Al goes travelling.
Bert has dabbled in other business ventures alongside plumbing. The bottled “French” Spring water was a notable disaster when he managed to give the entire village (and Doc Martin) diarrhea. There is also a suggestion that he was growing marijuana at one stage to build up a nest egg for Al. He has offered bird watching tours to the Chuffs on the cliffs, needless to say that no-one managed to actually see any. His latest adventure is in Bio-ethanol production, which leads to the methanol poisoning of Tommy (of Tommy’s taxis) and his wife. This also inadvertently leads to the early delivery of Baby Ellingham and the reconciliation between Doc Martin and Louisa Glasson – well done Bert!
Bert is a bit of a prankster but extremely kind hearted. One moment he will be trying to set up the Doc with ketchup pretending to be gashed on the arm and the next he will take over the Fish & Chip shop when Joy Cronk burns her arm.
Bert is a man that is looking for love. “The physical side is nice don’t get me wrong but it’s only one slice of the pie. Big heart and a good friend that’s what I’m looking for. The whole pie”. Both of his recent encounters have proved disastrous. Caitlin, the napkin lady was an exhibitionist and Marigold was both married and a serial flirt. Perhaps season 5 bodes better for out lovelorn lethario.