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Doc Martin raises awareness over homelessness

Doc Martin raises awareness over homelessness

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:00am 26th October 2019. (Updated at 9:14am 26th October 2019)

A Hollywood star has featured in Doc Martin to raise awareness of homelessness, inspired by Cornish charity St Petrocs. 

Actor Danny Huston, who has starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in films such as The Aviator, has appeared in an episode of the Cornish drama Doc Martin.

It was broadcast on ITV 9pm Wednesday 23rd October and can be watched again on ITV Hub.

Mark Crowdy, the executive producer, developed the storyline into the ninth series of the hit show after learning about the work of Cornish homelessness charity St Petrocs. 

The episode focusses on a character (Danny Huston) who is being accused of stealing eggs. Later in the episode we understand this person has become homeless. 

The episode shines a spotlight on the issue of homelessness and challenges common misconceptions, helping audiences to understand that homelessness could happen to anyone.  

Actor Danny Huston visited Cornwall to film the episode in the village of Port Isaac where the fictional Port Wenn, in the popular series is based. 

"Mark and I always wanted to work together, but never really had the opportunity, so when he offered me a part I was absolutely thrilled … my idea was always a rich American who would come to Cornwall and would threaten to buy people's homes and then would have an introspective moment within himself as far as his value on things. 

"But what Mark offered me was completely the opposite, a man who was stealing eggs from a farm, a man who has hit hard times and has in fact become homeless. 

"It was completely what I did not expect which thrilled me all the more so I tried to give dignity to a person who could be any one of us.

"It means a lot to Mark and I, for me as an actor and for Mark as a film maker. It's very important to us to feel that our work carries meaning, and if it can shed a little light, with St Petrocs' help, on this very relevant subject about human dignity, then hopefully we've done our work."

Danny Huston, actor

Doc Martin homeless

Mark Crowdy, a supporter of St Petrocs, attended the charity's 'Inspiring Cornwall' conference at the Eden Project in 2017 and came away motivated to include a storyline to raise awareness of homelessness in Cornwall, a place often viewed primarily as a holiday destination. 

Six and a half million people watched the first episode of the series on the night which made it the most watched TV show that night. 

"Through speaking with St Petrocs, finding out more about homelessness and about the terrible problem that there is in Cornwall and trying to find a way to help people become a bit more aware of it."

"Those who are homeless out there can be your brother, it can be your sister, it can be your best friend, it can be whoever, and it's so easy to walk past these people. I ask, how can we not walk past? How can we help? What can we do to help these people who could so easily be us out there?"

"So that was really why we wanted to do this episode and when I talked to Philippa the Producer and the writers about it, they were all very quickly on board to try to make this work. It was a really really difficult one to make work because we didn't want in any way to say there's a sticking plaster for this situation.

"This is our major storyline, and as it's a very delicate subject, we don't want to in any way be trite and say Doc Martin comes along and solves all the problems and it's all ok, we know that's not true, and Martin Clunes was very keen for that not to happen as well."

"I hope what we've done is show that the people you least expect it to happen to it can happen to. It can be incredibly confusing, very depressing, and compassion for people in that situation is something that is very important, and small gestures can mean an enormous amount. Hopefully we get that across in this episode."

Mark Crowdy, Doc Martin creator

St Petrocs says it's great to try to bring awareness to this subject in Cornwall but also in the 200 other countries around the world that this show is broadcast in. 

"We at St Petrocs are eternally grateful to Mark Crowdy, Danny Huston and all of the Doc Martin team for raising awareness of the issue of homelessness and for challenging the common misconceptions there are about homelessness in such a sensitive and considered way. 

"This means so much to us, and reaches audiences beyond our imagination to help us in our campaign to end street homelessness in Cornwall." 

Jackie Davis, St Petrocs

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