Television Whitenoise: The Darling Buds Of May

I am on something of a nostalgia trip with this one. I remember it being for me, one of the first things outside of Only Fools & Horses where I began to see David Jason’s genius. I loved him in Open All Hours, and he did a great turn in Porridge too. It was great to see him getting to stretch himself, with something a little gentler. Is Pa Larkin arguably a country version of Del Boy? Maybe. But this one really feels like it is played for the emotional punch rather than the laughs. The one episode seduction of Charlie into the Larkin way of life, and the ease and beauty of Catherine Zeta Jones as Mariette played against Charlie’s bumbling blossoming into himself is still as charming as it was when I watched it on ITV in England, all those years ago. Not much makes me homesick, but Kent isn’t that different from Suffolk in appearance, and there is something about the depiction of the English countryside that really engages me. Britbox is, I think, primarily designed for non-UK audiences to engage in some Anglophilia, but for me it is a journey into the past that is attended by memories of sitting around in the living room with my dad, who was country enough to be conjured up every time I see Pa Larkin on screen.

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