Original article from Kent Live
With so many new series being released on streaming platforms right now, it's easy to forget about the golden oldies.
The Darling Buds of May was, so I hear, was one of the most popular shows on British television in the early 1990s.
Sadly, before my time, the ITV comedy drama ran for 20 episodes and was filmed in Bethersden, just outside Pluckley, near Ashford.
Looking for an escape from the day-to-day churn of lockdown, I decided to plunge myself into idyllic 1950s rural Kent.
The star cast
One of the things which really drew me to the Darling Buds farm was the star cast.
The national treasure Sir David Jason, who we all know from Only Fools and Horses, was starring in this series along with a very young Catherine Zeta-Jones, who I loved in Zoro.
Pam Ferris was also casted, I would watch her in the TV drama series Rosemary and Thyme- or some of you may remember her from the Harry Potter films where she played Aunt Marge.
I found The Darling Buds of May to be such a simple, happy and yet thought provoking show, not to mention it was the perfect distraction from everything that's been going on in the past year.
There are such loveable characters that we see living a simple life in the country, that turns even the most uptight character Cedric, into a young hopeful boy.
Pop (Sir David Jason) is a loveable father who dotes on his children, I am glad to see that they added in an essence of Del-boy into his character, as he seems to smart his way out of tough situations.
It was so funny to see Pop continuously give Cedric the run-around, getting him drunk and then forcing him to drink a hangover cure of eggs, and watching Cedric fall at his feet for the beautiful Mariette.
Even though the Larkin family are the main characters of the show, they are almost treated as the underdog, with outsider characters looking down their noses at the friendly family.
Even though the series aired 30 years ago, I found many things relatable to the present day.
The countryside family of the 1950s
With the show being set in the 1950s, I saw so many typical items of that era, from the fat box that they called a TV to the insanely large fridge that I wish I had.
The family were of course in 50s attire, Pop would walk around in three layers of clothing, a white shirt, waist coat and a black coat on top, and Mariette (Catherine Zeta-Jones) would sport a beautiful long yellow frock, that was paired with a yellow scarf in her hair.
But some comments and actions of this 50s family did shock me.
Mariette is the eldest daughter of Pop and Ma (Pam Ferris).
Ma lets it be known that Mariette is pregnant and she doesn't know who the father is as she "hasn't decided".
Nowadays it wouldn't be too much of an issue really, especially when half the girls I went to school with are in their early twenties and have several kids.
But knowing that these are meant to be the views of 1950s person, I was somewhat surprised to see Pop did not bat much of an eyelid at the baby, which would be born out of wedlock.
He simply says “nah don’t matter does it, we’ll think of something”.
Speaking of pregnancy, we see Mariette drinking whilst pregnant which did seem odd.
If that were now, she would be shamed into posting an apology video online.
When Cedric, a tax inspector, enters the picture he makes a comment about the family only having six kids, what did he mean "only".
I grew up in a house with three other siblings and I consider us a big family, how big were the families in the 50s?
Much like society today there was a class issue
Class issues at the time of Darling Buds appear to be as prominent then as they are today.
It's sad to see that despite the Larkin family having enough money to raise six kids, own a farm, and all the animals and vet bills that come with it, they are looked down on by other members of society.
No matter how friendly and welcoming they appear, the members of the village committee seem to loath the "kind" of family the Larkins are.
It's clear that it's due to the Larkin's being of working class, they're not posh and well spoken, they don't seem to have had higher education, and they are described as people who "eat like pigs".
It's a sad moment for me to see that Pop notices this and looks uncomfortable and even ashamed, when he doesn't understand the words "prejudice" and "adamant" that are spoken by Cedric in one scene.
Cedric is from London and is clearly well educated, with his fancy old school suit, fancy words and a posh voice.
What I love about this character is that he is clearly from another class, and yet he thinks the family are wonderful despite their differences.
After spending several days with the family, he starts to loosen up and feels he is a part of the family, something he had clearly missed out on as a child.
Why I loved the show
The show saw a big family, who were close and loving, sharing huge meals at the dinner table and spending time outside together – this was my childhood.
The dynamic of the happy and fun father providing for his family, the mother cooking delicious meals from scratch, surrounded by the noises and views of the countryside are not only scenes we see in the series, but scenes that I remember from my childhood.
It is a sweet story that just makes you forget about the harsh reality of the world, especially the one we're all living in right now.