‘The Larkins’ recap: What happened in Episode 5?

ITV’s new version of The Darling Buds of May continued 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 fifth episode, ‘In which Ma’s sister Bertha comes to visit’, which aired on ITV at 8pm on Sunday 7th November 2021:

With the imminent arrival of her sister, Ma is beside herself and cleaning like a demon.

Bertha, her husband Howard and their daughter Jemima are firm suburbanites who despise the countryside and in particular dirt and animals.

Things aren’t going very well between Mariette and Charley, so Tom makes his move.

Meanwhile, Tom’s plans for Bluff Court are speeding ahead, threats of pulling down Spreading Linda (a beloved tree) and flattening the countryside are worrying Miss Pilchester and other villagers.

Pop smells self-interest from Alec Norman and his crew. Meanwhile Ma and the family are trying not to slap showboating, competitive Howard and Bertha.

Finally Ma snaps and challenges her sister to a race, Jaguar vs Rolls Royce, much to Pop and Howard’s concern.

A crunch meeting at the Village Hall looks like giving Tom Fisher the planning permission he needs.

Primrose saves the day by bringing news from the planning office that Tom intends to flatten most of the village.

Ma is winning the car race but sees how desperate Bertha is to win so lets her, restoring harmony to the sisters.

But celebrations are interrupted by the discovery that Mariette, despite growing affection for Charley, has scarpered and is on her way to France.

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