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The Kent links to the new Darling Buds of May adaptation, The Larkins, on ITV, starring Bradley Walsh


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It’s set in the late 1950s, but there’s a chance that the new period drama The Larkins will also make viewers feel nostalgic for the early 1990s.

It’s a new adaptation of The Darling Buds of May, which starred David Jason and Pam Ferris and, back in the 90s also made a star of Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Joanna Scanlan as Ma Larkin and Bradley Walsh as Pop Larkin Picture: ITV Plc / Objective Fiction / Genial
Joanna Scanlan as Ma Larkin and Bradley Walsh as Pop Larkin Picture: ITV Plc / Objective Fiction / Genial

Author H.E Bates captured Kent in all its perfick, rural glory for his tales of the Larkin family.

A former journalist, he and his wife Madge moved to Little Chart, near Ashford, and lived in an old granary with an acre of garden, where he went on to write his books, and lived for more than 40 years.

With titles including A Breath of French Air, A Little of What You Fancy and Oh! To Be in England, they captured an idyllic life set in the Kentish countryside, which has retained its popularity.

Publishers Penguin re-released them in 2018 to mark the 60th anniversary of the first publication.

For the 90s series, which included local actress Pam Ferris, much of the filming took place in Pluckley, with the location for Home Farm, the Larkin residence, being Buss Farm at Bethersden, which later was renovated and became holiday accommodation, and is now a private home. Filming also took place in other Kent towns, including Folkestone and at Maidstone Grammar School.

Pam Ferris and David Jason as the Larkins in The Darling Buds of May series on ITV in the 90s
Pam Ferris and David Jason as the Larkins in The Darling Buds of May series on ITV in the 90s
The 90s show made a star of Catherine Zeta Jones Picture: ITV
The 90s show made a star of Catherine Zeta Jones Picture: ITV

The show became one of ITV’s all time highest rated television comedy dramas, and won critical acclaim and audience approval.

This summer, film crews were out and about transforming Faversham into part of The Larkins’ perfect patch of Kent.

It saw Carters Newsagents in Market Street transformed into Venwell & Co, while Ward and Partners was rebranded as Coxfield Bank Ltd and Presentimes, both in Market Place, as Dilly’s Gifts.

Star Bradley Walsh was also spotted enjoying an ice cream for filming in Broadstairs.

However, the team behind The Larkins are keen to stress that the new series isn’t just a remake of the previous adaptation.

Executive produce Sophie Clarke-Jervoise says: “This version of The Larkins is really a much more modern take on the original source material. I know Simon Nye who has written the scripts wanted to have clear water between the two.”

Bradley Walsh as Pop Larkin in The Larkins on ITV and ITV Hub Picture: Objective Fiction / Genial Productions
Bradley Walsh as Pop Larkin in The Larkins on ITV and ITV Hub Picture: Objective Fiction / Genial Productions
The cast of the new show Picture: Objective Fiction / Genial Productions
The cast of the new show Picture: Objective Fiction / Genial Productions
Mariette Larkin is played by Bridgerton's Sabrina Bartlett Picture: Objective Fiction / Genial Productions
Mariette Larkin is played by Bridgerton's Sabrina Bartlett Picture: Objective Fiction / Genial Productions
Ma Larkin (Joanna Scanlan) with Zinnia (Davina Coleman) and Petunia (Rosie Coleman). Picture: Objective Fiction / Genial Productions
Ma Larkin (Joanna Scanlan) with Zinnia (Davina Coleman) and Petunia (Rosie Coleman). Picture: Objective Fiction / Genial Productions
Mariette Larkin (Sabrina Bartlett), Ma Larkin (Joanna Scanlan) and Primrose Larkin (Lydia Page) Picture: ITV Plc / Objective Fiction / Genial Productions
Mariette Larkin (Sabrina Bartlett), Ma Larkin (Joanna Scanlan) and Primrose Larkin (Lydia Page) Picture: ITV Plc / Objective Fiction / Genial Productions

Taking on the role of Pop Larkin this time, in place of national treasure David Jason, will be Bradley Walsh.

The actor and presenter, who can also currently presenting Blankety Blank on BBC One, said: “This is a big family values show – this is about caring, worrying and loving your nearest and dearest.

“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 more time with your family.”

He adds: “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.”

The new series will star Joanna Scanlan as Ma Larkin with Bridgerton’s Sabrina Bartlet taking on the role of their daughter Mariette, originally played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The Larkins will start on ITV on Sunday, October 10 at 8pm.

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