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The Darling Buds of May reboot: Everything you need to know

·4-min read
Photo credit: Sam Taylor - ITV
Photo credit: Sam Taylor - ITV

ITV has released its first look image of Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan in The Larkins, a reimagining of popular comedy The Darling Buds of May.

The '90s series was based on the beloved H.E. Bates novel The Darling Buds of May, and this time around the adaptation will be written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye (Findng Alice, The Durrells, Men Behaving Badly) with the aim of capturing the warmth, optimism and escapism of The Larkin family for a modern generation.

In the photo, Walsh looks dapper in a three-piece suit and yellow tie as Pa Larkin, a role made famous in the original by David Jason, while Scanlan wears a floral dress as Ma Larkin, taking over from Pam Ferris.

The Darling Buds of May was one of ITV’s all time highest rated television comedy drama, winning critical acclaim and audience approval. With a star-studded cast including David Jason, Pam Ferris and Philip Franks, it also launched the career of Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Photo credit: Mirrorpix - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mirrorpix - Getty Images

The Larkins: Who's in it?

Bradley Walsh (Doctor Who, The Chase) brings his cheeky chappy chops to the role of Pa Larkin, made famous in the 90s by David Jason - and he's also on board as executive producer.

“I’m thrilled to be asked to be part of this much loved and iconic series of stories," he said. "The warmth and affection that H. E Bates has generated through his books is so uplifting and I cannot wait to be part of the Larkin family. It’ll be a hoot!“

Photo credit: Gareth Cattermole - Getty Images
Photo credit: Gareth Cattermole - Getty Images

The incomparable Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It, No Offence) takes up the reigns from Pam Ferris as Ma Larkin.

“What better comfort could there be from all we have endured this year than the rolling laughter and outsize hugs of Ma and Pop?" she said. "It’s going to be an honour to help bring The Larkins to the nation’s devices!”

Further casting will be announced in 2021 before filming begins.

The Larkins: What's it about?

Set in the late 1950s, The Larkins is the story of a working-class family led by the golden-hearted wheeler dealer Pop Larkin and his wife Ma, together with their six children, including the beautiful Mariette.

Fiercely loyal to each other and their community, each Larkin family member has a strong work ethic, alongside a disinterest in authority.

Photo credit: Mirrorpix - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mirrorpix - Getty Images

In the idyllic and beautiful Kent countryside, The Larkins have achieved a small patch of paradise where nothing is wasted and they enjoy life to the full.

There’s an overwhelming sense of plenty in their lives and a lot of joy and raucous laughter, as Ma Larkin provides a seemingly endless supply of delicious, hearty meals. And no matter what time of day, The Larkins and their guests aren’t averse to enjoying the odd cocktail or two!

The Larkins are fundamentally good-hearted people who are always happy to share what they have with others, despite the fact that what they have is sometimes obtained by unusual means! In a rather mean-spirited way, their good heartedness is not always shared by certain members of the local community.

Photo credit: Mirrorpix - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mirrorpix - Getty Images

Alongside their weekly battles with authority and snobbish villagers, The Larkins will follow the love story between Mariette and village newcomer Cedric ‘Charley’ Charlton. Charley arrives in the village as an unworldly and officious accountant from the city, there to investigate the Larkins’ tax affairs.

He is soon distracted by the beautiful Mariette, with whom he falls head over heels in love. However, he quickly discovers that he has a romantic rival in the form of the handsome and mysterious Tom Fisher. Mariette, on the other hand, may have plans of her own, which don’t involve men.

Screenwriter Simon Nye said: “The novels are short, hilarious and magical. We will be expanding the Larkins’ world a little and can’t wait to immerse ourselves in this glorious countryside idyll."

ITV’s Head of Scripted Comedy Nana Hughes added: “I am delighted to welcome back Ma and Pop from the pen of Simon Nye. The Kent countryside will be filled with laughs, wheeling and dealing, and the added charm of Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan.”

The Larkins: When's it on TV?

The Larkins is due to begin filming in 2021, so it's likely to hit screens later that year or early 2022.

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