Join the family!!!!! they are perfick!!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Meet the larkins and fall in love. David Jason as Pop Larkin, Pam Ferris as Ma and Catherine Zeta Jones as the lovely Mariette play Perfick roles as the larkins. If you cant afford the collectables, (which is rather expensive) I recommend buying this dvd first as it is the start of the beginning series. I was so hooked I found myself wishing I could pack me bags to live with the larkins in Kent,UK. (Of course I would have to travel back into time about 50 years)!! but maybe just a trip to the Garden of England will do. A very soft and touching story about the larkin family written by H.E.Bates."
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 07/30/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THE DARLING BUDS OF MAY (Vol.1) comprises the first four 50-minute episodes from the British TV series originally broadcast in April 1991. I wouldn't have gotten by the title and taken a look had it not been for the presence in the cast of 22-year old Catherine Zeta Jones. (Insert wolf howl sound bite here.)The series revolves around the Larkin family: Sidney "Pop" Larkin (David Jason), "Ma" Larkin (Pam Ferris), daughter Mariette (Jones), son Montgomery, and daughters Primrose, Petunia, Zinnia and Victoria. The last five children mentioned are almost non-entities, at least on this DVD. It reminds me of the youngest children in the American TV series THE WALTONS, who were essentially ignored by the scriptwriters until they grew up enough to have personalities. And, by the way, Ma isn't married to Pop; her real character name is Flo Parker. Living in sin doesn't prevent fruitful multiplication, apparently, even in the realm of the Church of England.Pop Larkin owns 22 acres of farmland in Kent. His family's lifestyle indicates a comfortable prosperity. Perhaps it's because of the under-the-table deals Pop has going on the side. And it doesn't hurt his bottom line that he's never filed an income tax declaration or paid into social insurance. As episode one begins, the Larkins are visited by Cedric "Charley" Charlton (Philip Franks), a young soldier for the Inland Revenue Service sent down to tidy things up between Pop and Her Majesty's tax gatherers. Would Larkin be so kind as to fill out an income tax declaration? As the first two episodes progress, Charley is first invited to Friday lunch, then Friday dinner, then persuaded to stay through Sunday, and finally convinced to take sick leave and remain all the following week so he can go strawberry-picking. Charlton's sense of duty crumbles in the face of Larkin hospitality and the pleas of the beguiling Mariette. Charley is obviously over his head with this canny clan, and is soon, well, pretty much a member of the family.The third and fourth episodes revolve around Larkin's high-handed shenanigans to acquire and re-sell the run-down manor house of the cash-strapped minor aristocrat living across the hedge, and Pop's personal difficulties after the new owners move in.
THE DARLING BUDS OF MAY is pleasant and likable enough. My objection is that it doesn't know whether to be a comedy or a drama, and is therefore neither, or a bland version of either, whichever you prefer. (I'm spoiled by several superb BBC productions that have made it across the Pond.) Since it proved to be one of the most popular shows on English television, the problem is perhaps that I'm not a Brit. (My wife likes it more than I do, and she's of Polish heritage. OK, I'm a curmudgeon.) And even though the series is filled with eccentric and sympathetic characters, Pop Larkin is, for me, not one of them. While he has a multitude of virtues - he's a charming, generous, loving, and congenial family man - he's also a too-slick manipulator that I wouldn't trust with anything too precious. On the other hand, I might have been better drawn to the character if he was more overtly mischievous and less bland. Perhaps a rascally Sean Connery type, if you will. For me, the reason to watch is Catherine Zeta Jones. (Replay the wolf howl here.) And Charlton is also fun to watch, especially when he just doesn't have a clue - a chicken among foxes, he is. Pam Ferris is terrific as the earthy Ma Larkin, who can cook up a breakfast of eggs, tomato, bangers and bacon to die for. My kind of woman.I plan on watching the next volume in the DVD series. Perhaps it'll grow on me. And it's better by far than most of the pathetic drivel currently on American television."