The Larkins: Heart-warming Darling Buds of May stories return to ITV

The cosy family drama that launched Catherine Zeta-Jones is back, starring Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan. Here’s all you need to know about the 'perfick' return of the Larkins.

By Katie Archer Published: 10 October 2021 - 8.34pm
ITV Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan

It made a star of Catherine Zeta-Jones and featured David Jason in one of his best-loved roles.

Now, cosy family drama The Darling Buds of May is being remade for ITV under new name The Larkins, with a fresh cast and different adventures.

Find out all you need to know about when you can watch it and who will be bringing the H.E. Bates novel back to life again.

What is The Larkins? Is it a remake of The Darling Buds of May?

Yes and no – just like the 1991 TV series before it, The Larkins is based on H.E. Bates’ novel The Darling Buds of May and his subsequent books about the exploits of Pop Larkin and family.

However, although it will follow broadly the same storyline as the previous TV series and books, The Larkins is described as “capturing the warmth, optimism and escapism of The Larkin family for a modern generation”, so we’re not expecting a scene-for-scene remake.

Bradley Walsh Getty

It’s set in Kent in the 50s, where working-class family the Larkins have carved out their own corner of paradise in the Garden of England.

Each of them has a strong work ethic and an equally strong mistrust of authority, but they are generous with what they have and live a happy life of plenty.

The family’s dramas include fighting opposition from snobbish neighbours, second home owners and urban developers who threaten their idyllic lifestyle.

Beautiful daughter Mariette takes centre stage when an accountant from the city comes to investigate the Larkins’ tax affairs and falls in love with her.

He finds a romantic rival in the handsome and mysterious Tom Fisher, but Mariette has other plans of her own that don’t involve men.

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Who stars in The Larkins?

Joanna Scanlan Getty

We won’t be seeing any of the original cast make a return – after all, it’s been 30 years since they played the Larkin family.

Bradley Walsh (Doctor Who, Law & Order) takes over David Jason’s role as Pop Larkin, while Joanna Scanlan (No Offence, The Thick Of It) replaces Pam Ferris as Ma Larkin.

Walsh said: “I’m thrilled to be asked to be part of this much loved and iconic series of stories. 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!“

Scanlan said: “What better comfort could there be from all we have endured this year than the rolling laughter and outsize hugs of Ma and Pop?”

Mariette was originally played by Catherine Zeta-Jones in her breakthrough role. The Larkins sees Sabrina Bartlett (Bridgerton, Victoria) play the family’s eldest child, with her love interest Cedric 'Charley' Charlton is played by Tok Stephen (Grantchester).

Bartlett said: “I can’t wait to bring these heart-warming stories to life alongside such a wonderful team. It’s just the perfect dose of escapism we all need right now”

Stephen added: “I can't wait to work alongside Joanna, Bradley and Sabrina. I'm incredibly excited. I hope we can impress fans of the original novels with our version."

Other cast members include Peter Davison (Doctor Who) as the Vicar, Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet) as Johnny Delamere and Walsh's son Barney (Breaking Dad) as village bobby PC Harness.

When is it on TV?

The Larkins will air in autumn 2021 on ITV, although an exact start date has yet to be announced.