Lady Susan Brading (Celia Imrie, episode 1.1)
Being an active “lady of a certain age”, Susan Brading is Portwenn’s answer to Mrs. Robinson. An energetic fan of “HRT” cream, Mrs. Brading asks the doctor for a repeat prescription at their first meeting. It soon becomes clear to Dr. Ellingham however that her usage is extreme, causing all sorts of trouble not only for her husband, but for her young lover as well.
Colonel Gilbert Spencer (Richard Johnson, episode 1.1, On the Edge)
A retired lieutenant colonel, Gilbert Spencer now spends his time tending to his garden and bird watching. He married Lady Susan Brading some time ago, and is now dealing with the side-effects of their union. After visiting Dr. Ellingham, he discovers he is growing breasts (gynocomastia) as a result of his wife’s overuse of estrogen cream. A gentleman to the end, he maintains his dignity by wearing three piece suits and keeping quiet about his problem. That is, until he finds out he’s not the only man in Portwenn suddenly in need of a bra.
Melanie Gibson (Stephanie Leonidas, episode 1.5)
Teenager Melanie is a determined and slightly high strung teenager. After the doc fixes
her dislocated shoulder she becomes infatuated with him, showering him with baked goods
and affection. She has a dog called Mary, an annoying older brother and her father teaches
at the Portwenn Leisure Centre.
Christopher Ellingham (John Woodvine, episode 2.6)
Christopher is Doc Martin’s father. He is retired from surgery and was living in Portugal with Martin’s mother, Margaret. Christopher and his wife have had a very unhappy married life, as Christopher is a serial womanizer, and rejected his wife after she gave birth to Martin.
In Series 1, Doc Martin says that his father was in the Navy but later in the series he turns up as a retired surgeon. There is no clear indication if this is a continuity error or if he was a surgeon in the Navy.
Doc Martin and his father have been estranged for at least 7 years. Christopher was a physically abusive parent (locking Martin up under the stairs or beating him with a bat). They meet up again in Portwenn when Christopher comes to ask Joan Norton (his sister) for his share in the family farm after an unsuccessful business venture in Portugal leaves him broke.
Margaret Ellingham (Claire Bloom, episode 2.6)
Margaret is Doc Martin’s mother. They are estranged from each other and she lives in Portugal with Martin’s father. She blames Martin for Christopher’s rejection of her after his birth and as a result was an emotionally abusive parent.
She is having an affair in Portugal and plans to leave Christopher after seeing him humiliated by having to come cap in hand to his sister Joan for money.