Set in the late 50s in an idyllic Kentish countryside The Darling Buds of May is about the big, brash and boozy Larkin family. The family leads a wonderful existence where ‘Pop’ Larkin manages to keep his large 20-acre family farm and a Rolls Royce without doing any work while the six children radiate happiness and hardly have a care in the world.
Back in 1991 The Darling Buds of May was easily the most popular show on TV, proving that David Jason could do no wrong and propelled a fresh faced and sexy Catherine Zeta Jones into stardom.
Jason played the irrepressible Pop Larkin a man for whom the only thing in life was the simple pleasures of the countryside, at the start of the series tax inspector Cedric ‘Charlie’ Charlton (Philip Franks) arrives to investigate Pop’s non payment of taxes, immediately smitten by the Larkin’s gorgeous lifestyle and even more so by their beautiful daughter Mariette (Zeta Jones) Charley never goes home, instead getting married to Mariette and embracing the Larkin lifestyle, the rest of the series focusing on various of Pop’s schemes and the growing of the Larkin family as Mariette and Charley have a child.
Probably the ultimate feel god show and one guaranteed to make you hungry, every episode sees the Larkin family getting stuck into mountains of food for breakfast lunch and dinner.
Of the two specials made one was a Christmas edition (Christmas is Coming Broadcast 22 Dec 1991) and the other saw the family go on holiday abroad (Le Grand Weekend Broadcast 26 Dec 1992). There was also a short segment that appeared as part of the ITV Telethon broadcast 19 July 1992, this only featured the regular cast.
UK / ITV – Yorkshire – Excelsior / 20×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 7 April 1991 – 4 April 1993 3 Seasons + 2 Specials
Creator/Executive Producer: Richard Bates / Executive Producers: Vernon Lawrence, Philip Burkey / Characters: H.E. Bates / Titles: Paul Peppiate / Theme Music: Pip Burley / Other Music: Barrie Guard / Design: Alan Davies
DAVID JASON as Pop Larkin
PAM FERRIS as Ma Larkin
CATHERINE ZETA JONES as Mariette
PHILIP FRANKS as Charley
RACHEL BELL as Edith Pilchester
MORAY WATSON as The Brigadier
CHRISTINA GILES as Petunia Larkin
KIKA MIRYLEES as Angela Snow (seasons 1-2)
KATHERINE GILES as Zinnia Larkin
STEPHANIE RALPH as Victoria Larkin
JULIE DAVIES as Primrose Larkin (season 1)
ABIGAIL ROKISON as Primrose Larkin (seasons 2-3)
IAN TUCKER as Montgomery Larkin (Seasons 1-2)