PC Joe Penhale

PC Joe Penhale is a very dedicated policeman and in his own words is “on the job 24/7”. Even his birthday party was an excuse for him to size the village up for potential criminal activity – “according to statistics one of you will break the law in the next month”. He wants to be “the best Policeman in Portwenn” but after just a single day in Portwenn he was diagnosed with narcolepsy (treated with Ritalin), and the following week he was confirmed as suffering from agoraphobia, so even if there was a crime to investigate he wasn’t able to leave the police station. This was successfully treated with therapy sessions. Both conditions had been caused by a kick to the head from a horse during an arrest, which had resulted in neurological damage.

It wasn’t just Portwenn that suffered as a result of Joe’s accident. His wife left him when she couldn’t cope with his mood swings and forgetfulness. Joe has a mother living elsewhere and a brother who visited him in Portwenn once. Penhale had always hero-worshipped his older brother Sam, probably because his father left the family home when he was a baby. However, Sam had taken another path from Joe and had turned to art fraud as a way to earn a living. After Sam was sent to prison, Joe seems to have turned his hero worship to Doc Martin, even offering to apply for a transfer to the London Metropolitan Police Force when it is clear that the Doc is moving back to London. As Doc Martin believes that Joe Penhale is a “complete fruitcake” this was not warmly received.

(Badge No.3021) – Season 3 onwards