‘The Larkins’ reviews round-up: ‘Joyous, comforting show’ is ‘an absolute delight’

The new version of The Darling Buds of May launches this weekend!

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

Bates’s novels were previously adapted in ITV’s Darling Buds of May series, which ran for three seasons in the early 1990s.

This time around the cast is led by Bradley Walsh (Doctor WhoLaw & Order: UK) and Joanna Scanlan (Notes on a Scandal) as the new Pop and Ma.

Walsh and Scanlan are 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.

Set in the late 1950’s, the series 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.

The Larkins premieres in the UK on Sunday evening on ITV.

We’ve rounded up a selection of reviews to help you decide if you’d like to watch the show:


“People (like me) who argue that TV reboots tend to be pale caricatures of their much-loved originals were forced to eat their words over All Creatures Great and Small and Poldark. Now here’s another revival that doesn’t embarrass the forerunner.

“I’m not sure that we needed a remake of The Darling Buds of May but we got one and, amazingly, it’s rather good.” ★★★★ – The Times


“…maybe I’ve decided that there’s been enough cynicism and misery in the world of late, and that it’s time to take a warm bath in some televisual treacle to sweeten and soothe the soul. Whatever it was, I found [this] an absolute delight, and cannot recommend it highly enough…

“Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan are pitch-perfect as Pa and Ma Larkin … if I wanted grim, gritty melodrama with an undertone of menace, I could just switch over to the news. The Larkins is a perfect antidote to Britain in 2021, and I, for one, am all in. – Saga


“There are other big shoes to fill. Few actors would fancy following David Jason, but Bradley Walsh has the confidence … The Larkins is great fun, it made a smashing start, but so far… it isn’t quite perfick.” ★★★★ – Daily Mail


“A boisterous if slightly superfluous refit of the HE Bates-inspired, 50s-set primetime banker. Bradley Walsh brings a cockney twang to self-styled “gentleman farmer” Pop Larkin while Joanna Scanlan is a suitably no-nonsense Ma.” – The Guardian


“There’s nothing ‘perfick’ about this clumsy remake. It was never going to compare with The Darling Buds of May, but some over-acting and some odd casting didn’t help matters.” ★★ – The Telegraph


“The newly-formed on-screen family have just as much charisma and charm as their predecessors, with their sleepy Kentish farm providing a beautiful countryside backdrop suitable for ITV’s reboot … It’s not to the detriment to The Larkins that it’s so simple – it’s its strength.

“On a Sunday evening as the nights draw in after what’s been a difficult 18 months for many, actually a sleepy drama set in the Garden of England is just right. a joyous, comforting and homely show which feels like you’re getting a big old hug … After the 18 months we’ve all had, The Larkins is exactly what we all deserve… perfick.” ★★★★ – Radio Times


The Larkins is expected to air in the US next year on PBS.

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