The Bridgerton effect continues: Sabrina Bartlett, who played opera singer Sienna Rosso in the first season of the breakout Netflix hit, has been tapped to star in The Larkins, ITV's new adaptation of the classic series The Darling Buds of May.
The original series, adapted from the HE Bates novels, first aired thirty years ago and became one of ITV’s all-time highest-rated television comedy dramas. This update will be written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye, with the aim of capturing the warmth, optimism, and escapism of the Larkin family for a modern generation.
Set in the 1950s, the story follows a working-class family led by “golden-hearted wheeler-dealer” Pop Larkin and his wife Ma, here played by former Doctor Who star Bradley Walsh and The Thick of It's Joanna Scanlon. Together with their six children, the Larkins navigate their idyllic life in the Kent countryside whilst dealing with threats from government officials and snobbish second homeowners.
Bartlett will play eldest Larkin daughter Mariette, and the series will also focus on the love story between her character and village newcomer Cedric ‘Charley’ Charlton, played by newcomer Tok Stephens, who is best known for his appearance in the Season 4 premiere of Grantchester. An unworldly accountant from the city sent 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.
“I am really REALLY excited to be taking on the role of Mariette Larkin in this new adaption of H.E. Bates novels," Bartlett said in a statement. "I can’t wait to bring these heartwarming stories to life alongside such a wonderful team. It’s just the perfect dose of escapism we all need right now."
While there's no word yet on when or how we might see this series arrive in America, this series' warm appeal and its The Durrells in Corfu connections make it feel like a natural successor for that series on PBS, don't you think? (I have no idea if that's true or not and am totally projecting, but it feels right, you know? Fingers crossed!)
What do you think of a new update of The Darling Buds of May? Let's discuss in the comments.