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Darling Buds of May, The (DVD Review)

17 Feb, 2011 By: Angelique Flores

Street 2/22/11
$54.98 five-DVD set
Not rated.
Stars David Jason, Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Starring a young Catherine Zeta-Jones, “The Darling Buds of May” was a popular British series that aired from 1991 to 1993.

The series, which in some episodes was a whimsical comedy and others more of a drama, centers on the Larkin family. Ma and Pa (David Jason) and their seven children are a close-knit family living on a farm. Their strange yet idyllic existence attracts antagonists and admirers alike because of their extravagant lifestyle and their blithe outlook on life.

The oldest daughter, Mariette (Zeta-Jones), catches the eye of the tax collector, whom the family renames Charley. He is pulled into the Larkin’s eccentric and daffy world and becomes part of the family by marrying Mariette.

The series, adapted from the H.E. Bates novels, is filled with slow, offbeat humor. The strange occurrences that are everyday life for the Larkins are sometimes funny, but other times can drag on so slowly it’s hard to stay engaged. No matter how banal the plot might get, it’s always delightful to watch the captivating young beauty Zeta-Jones, whose career was launched by the show.

About 20 years old now, the series looks dated, and it seems no restoration was done.

The DVD set includes the entire series plus some trivia about the show and its cast, a photo gallery, biographies and filmographies for Zeta-Jones and actor David Jason. Most interesting and enjoyable were the old interviews with Zeta-Jones and Jason from British television shows that aired during the show’s prime.

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