DVD review: “The Larkins: Series One” (2021) 

“The Larkins: Series One” (2021) 

Television / Drama

Six Episodes

Written by: Simon Nye and Abigail Wilson based The Darling Buds of May by H. E. Bates

Directed by: Andy De Emmony

Featuring: Bradley Walsh, Joanna Scanlan, Sabrina Bartlett and Tok Stephen

Jasmine Brown: “Angela and I graduated through virginity together.”

Recently released on DVD is “The Larkins: Series One” (2021) which is only the most recent adaptation of H. E. Bates novel The Darling Buds of May. Both the novel and the series are set in rural 1950s Kent and revolve around the life of Pop and Ma Larkin and their six children.

“The Larkins: Series One” is set in an idyllic corner of England just before the 1960s turn into the revolution we all recognise. All is right in this world, and if it is not the ever genial Ma and Pa Larkin will make it so with a cheery word or a cheeky bit of daring. It ought to be exactly the kind of feel good televison required right now in the world that has quite a bit of darkness in it.

The Larkins is stuck firmly in the past in every sense. From character to comedy the broadest of brushes is employed. There is absolutely no subtlety at all which robs the show of any depth at all and it also means it comes across as lazy and vacuous, there is little reality involved. ItItss like looking through rose coloured glasses to a time when England was a certain way. Of course that view is an imagined reality, almost like looking back at the ‘old days’, of course they never existed. It’s a pity because with a little more effort “The Larkins: Series One” could have been a lot better. Instead it settles for good enough when it really isn’t.

Episodes

In Which we meet the Larkin Family: There is excitement at the approaching May Day Fair, but Mariette drops a bombshell and the tax man comes calling.

In Which the Larkins Woo Charley the Tax Man: With their wit, charm and a little bit of cunning, the Larkins woo Charley the Tax man. Mariette agrees to put her plans on hold and stay free for the summer.

In Which Pop and Ma Go on Holiday: Ma is worried that Pop is working too hard and books a weekend in Margate, leaving Charley and Mariette to mind the kids. Margate, however threatens to be a let-down.

In Which the Larkins Rescue the Railway Station: News reaches Pop that the train station is to close. With the help of reluctant Miss Chand and villagers, Pop seizes the opportunity to save the railway – and make money along the way. Mariette fights with Pauline, and Charley makes a big decision.

In Which Ma’s Sister Bertha Comes to Visit: With the imminent arrival of her sister, Ma is beside herself and cleaning like a demon.

In Which the Larkins are Determined to Convince Mariette to Stay: The Larkins dash to the railway station and manage to stall Mariette’s departure to France. They convince her to stay for a donkey derby/gymkhana and cocktail party in a few days.

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