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The Darling Buds of May

Updated on October 7, 2014

The Darling Buds of May TV Series

The Darling Buds of May is a charming British TV comedy set in the glorious Kent countryside of the 1950s. It's based on the Darling Buds of May books by H. E. Bates and centers around the Larkin family.

The Larkins are a joy to watch - such a strong family unit with Pop (David Jason) and Ma Larkin (Pam Ferris) at the head. Perhaps The Darling Buds of May is best known for launching the career of Catherine Zeta-Jones who played the eldest Larkin daughter, Mariette. For pleasant, family viewing you can't do better than this. "Absolutely bloomin perfick," as Pop would say.

The Darling Buds of May

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Plot Summary

The Darling Buds of May Plot

Darling Buds of May kicks off when the boring but nice Cedric, quickly renamed as Charlie (also spelt Charley) by the Larkins, comes to collect taxes from Pop Larkin. Pop tries every trick in the book to get out of actually giving Charlie the taxes owed. Charlie is further distracted from his tax-collection task by the Larkin's eldest daughter - Mariette - whom he falls in love with on sight. It's funny to see the very serious Charlie getting a little drunk, with just a little persuasion from Pop! The tax collector doesn't just fall in love with Mariette but the whole Larkin family and their charming country life.

The Darling Buds of May Books In Order

H. E. Bates wrote 5 books about the Larkin family:

1) The Darling Buds of May - 1958

2) A Breath of French Air - 1959

3) When the Green Woods Laugh - 1960

4) Oh! To Be in England - 1963

5) A Little of What You Fancy - 1970

Video Clips - The Darling Buds of May Videos from YouTube

1) The moment Charlie first meets Mariette

2) The Darling Buds of May theme song

3) Catherine Zeta Jones 1992 interview on The Darling Buds of May

4) Charlie falling in love with the Larkin family and, notably, Mariette

5) Sonnet 18 "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" performed by David Gilmour

The Darling Buds of May Poem - Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

Shakespeare Sonnet # 18 Print by Sonnets

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date,

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed,

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed.

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,

Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Darling Buds of May
Darling Buds of May

TV Cast

The Darling Buds of May TV Characters

Pop (David Jason) is the head of the large Larkin family. Pop owns a rambling countryside farm and is a bit of a wheeler dealer with his fingers always dipped into a variety of money-making schemes. He's a loud, fun and flirty character who gets along with pretty much anyone.

Ma Larkin (Pam Ferris) is the chatty, happy and bubbly mother of the Larkin family. Her favourite thing is to cooking up large amounts of food for everyone.

Mariette Larkin (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is the eldest Larkin daughter. She's extremely pretty and captivates Charlie right from their first meeting. Mariette and Charlie quickly become a steady item although they have a few obstacles like Charlie's jealousy and Mariette's stubbornness to overcome. Mariette has a great head for business, just like Pop, and this becomes apparent later in the series.

Cedric "Charlie" Charlton (Philip Franks) becomes Mariette's boyfriend and, later, her husband. Charlie is nice but a little boring at first (as you'd expect being a tax collector) but comes out of his shell as he becomes integrated into the Larkin way of life.

Montgomery Larkin (Ian Tucker) is the eldest Larkin son. We don't get to see much of Montgomery before he leaves to join the Navy.

Primrose Larkin (Abigail Romison) is the second-eldest Larkin daughter and a real character. Primrose is a real romantic and just wants to be in love. She goes about this the wrong way when she places her affections onto Charlie and the local Vicar. She's a dreamer and loves having her head stuck in a book of poetry.

Zinnia (Katherine Giles) and Petunia (Christina Giles) are the Larkin identical twins. The twins are boisterous and often annoying with their childish pranks. Eventually their behaviour has to be reined in by Ma and Pop when they are sent to a boarding school for their own good.

Victoria Larkin (Stephanie Ralph) is the youngest daughter. You can't help but feel a little sorry for Victoria because she is often left out of things by the other Larkin children which leads her to tease them.

Oscar Larkin (Ross Marriott) is the youngest child and not even born when the show starts. He is hilariously christened as Oscar Colombus Septimus Dupont Larkin!

Image: Catherine Zeta-Jones - The Darling Buds of May Glossy Photograph

The Darling Buds Of May On DVD - The Complete Collection

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Best Darling Buds Character

Which Darling Buds of May character do you like the best?

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The Darling Buds of May on eBay

It seems that Darling Buds of May Items are harder to get hold of in the USA than in the UK. Ebay is a very good place to hunt for items if you can't find them anywhere else.


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    • profile image

      Helene-Malmsio 5 years ago

      Like you, I just LOVE this series! I first saw it in 95 - and helped to inspire me to move to the countryside - and since then I have slowly collected as many videos of it as I could buy... I think I nearly own all of them now.

      They are guaranteed to cheer me up when I'm down.

    • profile image

      nicolane 5 years ago

      Loved this series - just wholesome giggles

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I loved this TV series when it came out, I was still a kid and wanted to look just like Catherine Zeta Jones! I think I will have to get this out on DVD and watch again, thank you for this lens!

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 6 years ago

      1991 huh? Gosh thats 20 years ago!! Makes feel so old when I think of it like that. I was already past 25 when it started. I didnt watch the series, But I did catch the odd episode here and there. So how old was Catherine Zeta Jones when she started this program? Just asking out of curiousity.....

    • Craftymarie profile image

      Marie 6 years ago

      @lizziehumphreys1: Wow, that's good going for 5 years - you must have been a bit of a book worm. Apparently H. E. Bates got the Darling Buds of May name for the books from Shakespeare's sonnet. So it just shows how inspirational poems can be! Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment :)

    • lizziehumphreys1 profile image

      lizziehumphreys1 6 years ago

      aww, really cool lens :) never watched the darling buds of may i dont think, but when i was about 5 years old, i used to recite the first verse of the sonnet by shakespeare!!