‘The Larkins’ recap: What happened in Episode 1?

ITV’s new version of The Darling Buds of May premiered in the UK tonight!

Based on the novels by H.E. Bates, the six-part comedy-drama comes from the creator of The Durrells.

The original Darling Buds of May series ran for three seasons in the early 1990s.

Set in the late 1950’s, The Larkins follows the golden-hearted wheeler dealer Pop Larkin and his wife Ma, together with their six children, including the beautiful Mariette, as they bask in their idyllic and beautiful patch of paradise in Kent.

Bradley Walsh (Doctor WhoLaw & Order: UK) and Joanna Scanlan (Notes on a Scandal) lead the cast as Pop and Ma.

They’re joined by Bridgerton actress Sabrina Bartlett as Mariette Larkin, the part originally played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, alongside Tok Stephen (Grantchester) as Cedric ‘Charley’ Charlton.

Also appearing are Peter Davison (All Creatures Great and Small) as the Vicar, Robert Bathurst (Downton Abbey) as Johnny Delamere, Tony Gardner (Last Tango in Halifax) as Alec Norman, and Amelia Bullmore (Gentleman Jack) as Miss Edith Pilchester.

Here’s a plot recap for the first episode, ‘In which we meet the Larkin family’, which aired on ITV at 8pm on Sunday 10th October 2021:

Excited and busy, plans for the approaching May Day Fair are underway in the village but everything is not as peaceful as it might be in the Larkins’ world.

Mariette is keen to leave home and see the world. Ma and Pop are devastated and doing their best to convince her to stay.

Even the arrival of suave Tom Fisher doesn’t seem to have the desired effect.

Meanwhile Pop is trying to save Miss Pilchester from having to sell her house to pushy Mr Rance, an outsider from London.

Ma is furious that village gossip (particularly from the Normans) about Pop suggests he is uncultured and illiterate.

Pop buys Ma a Rolls Royce to help rectify matters and Ma has her heart set on Pop being Master of Hounds and taking the crown from Alec Norman (who is still fuming that Montgomery Larkin scraped his sports car).

Things come to a head at the May Day Fair Charity Auction where Alec Norman mistakenly buys a ‘Turner’ painting which turns out to be a Montgomery Larkin original.

But with the arrival of the tax man things are looking bleak for Larkins.

The complete original The Darling Buds of May series is available on DVD on Amazon.