The Larkins is a reboot of The Darling Buds of May, even though no-one was crying out for one.
It comes just over 30 years since they were last on our screens in the guise of David Jason and Pam Ferris, and this time, they’re portrayed by the over-exposed Bradley Walsh and The Thick Of It‘s Joanna Scanlon.
I only saw parts of the original, based on the HE Bates novels, but Pop (Walsh) and Ma Larkin (Scanlon) have six children, the eldest being Mariette, originally played by Catherine Zeta Jones, but now, Sabrina Bartlett from Bridgerton.
Everyone clearly thinks of Pop as a massive drunken oaf (and with good cause), with Walsh playing him like Bradley Walsh slurring his words after a stroke, Scanlon is no different from a calm version of her stressed TTOI character, but aside from having a thing for CZJ back in the day, I couldn’t pick any of the other characters out in a line-up.
Originally, the two leads were aged 50 and 43 at the time of broadcast. This time? 61 and 59, so by the time the next adaptation comes along in 2051, they’ll all be dead. Seriously, Walsh and Scanlon are too old for these roles. Isn’t there someone of a more appropriate age they could find? Whatever next – Joe Biden in American Gigolo?
Complex plots involve Miss Edith Pilchester (Amelia Bullmore) wondering whether she should sell her house, and Mariette’s sister, Primrose (Lydia Page), talking about being in love with a boy. Excitement she wrote!
Peter Davison is a gruff vicar, Robert Bathurst plays a posher version of his Cold Feet character if that’s possible, and Tony Gardner – as Alec Norman – is the butt of every joke to the point where the butt snaps.
Beyond that, set in the ’50s and in a romanticised view of the world, everyone’s more nice than Tom and Barbara Good in The Good Life, and it’s as predictable as the day is long, and so achingly dull.
Correct me if I’m not correct, but based on what I remember of anything I saw of the original series, and of history in general, there weren’t many – or any – members of the black community living in the countryside in the ’50s, but given that we’re now in 2021, and the writers of The Larkins have attempted to balance the cast, I guess this is representing an alternate past. Then again, recent Doctor Who has also shown that Bradley Walsh doesn’t just exist in the present day and the ’50s, but any time period he likes.
As such, Cedric (aka Charley) has gone from being Philip Franks to Tok Stephen.
Overall, The Larkins is a complete waste of everyone’s time. It’ll probably run for years.
The Larkins begins on ITV on Sunday October 10th at 8pm, and after broadcast, each episode will be on the ITV Hub. It can be pre-ordered on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of its release on February 7th 2022. At least, that’s the placeholder date on Amazon at the moment, but I expect it’ll change to a date before Xmas.
Episode 1 Score: NO!!!
Director: Andy De Emmony
Producer: Serena Cullen
Series writers: Simon Nye, Abigail Wilson
Pa Larkin: Bradley Walsh
Ma Larkin: Joanna Scanlan
Mariette Larkin: Sabrina Bartlett
Primrose Larkin: Lydia Page
Alec Norman: Tony Gardner
Cedric Charlton: Tok Stephen
Montgomery Larkin: Liam Middleton
Johnny Delamere: Robert Bathurst
The Vicar: Peter Davison
The Brigadier: Kriss Dosanjh
Miss Edith Pilchester: Amelia Bullmore
Libby Fothergill: Francesca Wilson Waterworth
Pauline Jackson: Natalie Mitson
Amos: Robert Eades
Jasper: George Hannigan
Brian: Tom Xander
Geoffrey Potts: Richard Cunningham
Villager: Bradley WJ Miller
Connor: Connor Finch
Tom Fisher: Stephen Hagan
Miss Chand: Seeta Indrani
Mr. Neal: Andrew Joshi
Xanthe: Piper Leigh
Poll Saunders: Timmika Ramsay
PC Harness: Barney Walsh
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.