The Larkins is a new six-part television adaptation of H.E. Bates’ novel The Darling Buds of May airing this Autumn on ITV and ITV Hub.
Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan take on the iconic roles of Pop & Ma Larkin with Sabrina Bartlett and Tok Stephen playing Mariette Larkin and Cedric ‘Charley’ Charlton.
Joining them will be Peter Davison (the Vicar), Kriss Dosanjh (Brigadier), Amelia Bullmore (Miss Edith Pilchester), Seeta Indrani (Miss Chand), Robert Bathurst (Johnny Delamere), Stephen Hagan (Tom Fisher), Francesca Wilson Waterworth (Libby Fothergill), Barney Walsh (PC Harness), Tony Gardner (Alec Norman) and Selina Griffiths (Norma Norman).
Completing the Larkin family on screen will be Lydia Page (Primrose Larkin), Liam Middleton (Montgomery Larkin), Lola Shepelev (Victoria Larkin), Davina Coleman (Zinnia Larkin) and Rosie Coleman (Petunia Larkin).
Interview with Bradley Walsh
Tell us a little bit about the setting and the premise for the Larkin’s?
The show is adapted from the wonderful books by H. E. Bates. The premise is about a family who moved from London just after the war, out to a beautiful farm in Kent. Pop Larkin is a bit of a wheeler dealer and a huge family man. We’re trying to stick as close to the original books by H.E. Bates as possible and the scripts are beautifully written and adapted by Simon Nye.
Being set in a different era, does the show tell us anything about our lives today?
This is a big family values show – this is about caring, worrying and loving all about your nearest and dearest. Which in these strange and worrying times we’ve all had recently seems to be more prevalent and has become more important than ever. I think the pandemic has brought a lot of people closer together and they’ve realised how much they miss people in their lives and to stop rushing around, stop chasing and spend time more time with your family.
This show takes you back to the days when none of that rushing around existed, there were no mobile phones, there was no internet, when you needed something you had to go and ask them (face to face). I think we can learn a lot from looking at a family like this, we could learn an awful lot from the Larkin’s.
Describe Pop Larkin.
Pop Larkin is the kind of man you’d like to spend a day, an evening, a weekend with in the pub, if you want anything he can get it, he’s always looking for a deal, and why not. He cares about his family, he loves his family being around him, he loves the fact that he’s the sort of Dad you’d have wanted as well, for example he lets his kids drive this truck!
He loves and adores his wife Ma, and he loves everyone he really does, he actually says it as a line in the script, you know I love everyone and I think everyone loves me.
He is a genuinely, genuinely nice man, there’s not a bad bone in his body.
Tell us a little bit about his relationships with everyone.
Pop’s relationship with Ma is that they’ve known each other since they were kids, and they’ve grown up together, they have exactly the same ideals, the same values, the same ambitions and the same aspirations, they love their family life, they love the farm life and they love life.
Pop can be a womaniser in the fact that he loves the female species, he’s so charming. His relationship with Ma is so firm and so solid she doesn’t mind his odd flirting. I think what that tells you about him, from that side of their relationship, exudes into the community, so what he does, he will take someone a bottle of whisky or a bottle of brandy, as a softener for anything that he’s got going on. And I think that endears him to everyone, and he’s the giver of great advice.
Have you enjoyed playing Pop Larkin?
I really have because I’ve never had the chance to play someone quite like him before. To play this guy who’s laughing all the time and laughing with his family, having fun with his wife and his children and the whole community, and to see him say to everyone, come on, do you know what, we’ll have a fun, it’s just a wonderful thing to do, it really is.
Do you have any favourite expressions or scenes?
I’m not sure if he has funny expressions but I love his style of dress, I love that period of dress I think it’s fantastic. I also love the fact that we can drive those wonderful old vehicles.
Tell us a bit about the Larkins farm.
The joy of shooting here in Kent is the fact that this is where the books took place, so you get an infinity with it and you get a real feel for it.
I think the farm we’re working on has a good couple of hundred, three hundred acres maybe, it’s beautiful. The interiors are the true inside of the farmhouse, it’s so lovely.
Are you excited for audience to see The Larkins?
This is such a warm show that’s beautifully shot with lovely warm colours on screen. You can sit down and relax and say, ‘do you know what this is like living in the 1950s, early 60s again’.
The appeal will not just be national, but international and universal. The American’s loved Downton Abbey and this is the sort of show they’ll love too and they’ll want to visit Kent.
Written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye (Finding Alice, The Durrells, Men Behaving Badly) with the aim of capturing the warmth, optimism and escapism of The Larkin family for a modern generation. Abigail Wilson (Trollied, Carters Get Rich, Stella) writes one of the episodes.
The book and its sequels were last adapted 30 years ago as The Darling Buds of May and became one of ITV’s all time highest rated television comedy dramas winning critical acclaim and audience approval.
Set in the late 1950’s, 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.
In the idyllic and beautiful Kent countryside, known as the Garden of England, 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.
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.
From government officials and snobbish second homeowners to aggressive urban developers, the Larkins often deal with threats to their idyllic way of life – but they never take things lying down.
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