ITV commissions a new adaptation of H.E. Bates novel, The Darling Buds of May
14 December 2020
ITV commissions a new adaptation of H.E. Bates’ novel, The Darling Buds of May, entitled The Larkins, written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye and produced by Objective Fiction, Genial Productions and OMG Scotland in association with all3media International
ITV has commissioned a six part comedy drama series, The Larkins, starring Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan as the iconic fictional characters, Pop Larkin and his wife Ma.
The Larkins is a new television adaptation of H.E. Bates’ novel The Darling Buds of May, written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye (Finding Alice, The Durrells, Men Behaving Badly) with the aim of capturing the warmth, optimism and escapism of The Larkin family for a modern generation. Abigail Wilson (Trollied, Carters Get Rich, Stella) writes one of the episodes.
Screenwriter Simon Nye said:
“The novels are short, hilarious and magical. We will be expanding the Larkins’ world a little and can’t wait to immerse ourselves in this glorious countryside idyll.”
The comedy drama will be produced by Objective Fiction, Genial Productions and OMG Scotland with executive producers, Ben Farrell and Charlotte Lewis for Objective Fiction, Sophie Clarke-Jervoise and Simon Nye for Genial Productions and Toby Stevens for OMG Scotland. Bradley Walsh is also an executive producer.
The book and its sequels were last adapted 30 years ago as The Darling Buds of May and became one of ITV’s all time highest rated television comedy dramas winning critical acclaim and audience approval.
Commented Bradley Walsh on his casting as Pop Larkin:
“I’m thrilled to be asked to be part of this much loved and iconic series of stories. The warmth and affection that H. E Bates has generated through his books is so uplifting and I cannot wait to be part of the Larkin family. It’ll be a hoot!“
Commented Joanna Scanlan on her casting as Ma:
“What better comfort could there be from all we have endured this year than the rolling laughter and outsize hugs of Ma and Pop? It’s going to be an honour to help bring The Larkins to the nation’s devices!”
Set in the late 1950’s, The Larkins is the story of a working-class family led by the golden-hearted wheeler dealer Pop Larkin and his wife Ma, together with their six children, including the beautiful Mariette.
Fiercely loyal to each other and their community, each Larkin family member has a strong work ethic, alongside a disinterest in authority.
The series has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Scripted Comedy, Nana Hughes. Commissioner Chloe Tucker will also be overseeing production on behalf of the channel.
Commented ITV’s Head of Scripted Comedy Nana Hughes:
“I am delighted to welcome back Ma and Pop from the pen of Simon Nye. The Kent countryside will be filled with laughs, wheeling and dealing, and the added charm of Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan.”
In the idyllic and beautiful Kent countryside, known as the Garden of England, The Larkins have a achieved a small patch of paradise where nothing is wasted and they enjoy life to the full.
There’s an overwhelming sense of plenty in their lives and a lot of joy and raucous laughter, as Ma Larkin provides a seemingly endless supply of delicious, hearty meals. And no matter what time of day, The Larkins and their guests aren’t averse to enjoying the odd cocktail or two! The Larkins are fundamentally good-hearted people who are always happy to share what they have with others, despite the fact that what they have is sometimes obtained by unusual means! In a rather mean-spirited way their good heartedness is not always shared by certain members of the local community. From government officials and snobbish second homeowners to aggressive urban developers, the Larkins often deal with threats to their idyllic way of life – but they never take things lying down. Alongside their weekly battles with authority and snobbish villagers, The Larkins will follow the love story between Mariette and village newcomer Cedric ‘Charley’ Charlton. Charley arrives in the village as an unworldly and officious accountant from the city, there to investigate the Larkins’ tax affairs.
He is soon distracted by the beautiful Mariette, with whom he falls head over heels in love. However, he quickly discovers that he has a romantic rival in the form of the handsome and mysterious Tom Fisher. Mariette, on the other hand, may have plans of her own, which don’t involve men. The Larkins will be directed by Andy De Emmony (The Nest, Him, Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa) and produced by Serena Cullen (Mount Pleasant, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Me and Mrs Jones).
Ben Farrell, CCO, Objective Fiction, said:
“I’ve loved the Larkins novels for many years and can’t think of a better time to be bringing them back to television. After the year we’ve all had it’s welcome pure escapism for a family audience.”
News of further casting will be advised in 2021 closer to filming commencing.