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What happened to the original cast of 'The Darling Buds of May'?

What happened to the original cast of The Darling Buds of May? Cast group shot.
Here's what happened to the cast of The Darling Buds of May. (Image credit: ITV)

With The Larkins heading to ITV we decided to do some digging and find out what happened to the original cast of The Darling Buds of May

The ITV adaptation of the much-loved novel The Darling Buds of May was famously turned into a series starring Sir David Jason, Pam Ferris, and future Hollywood star Catherine Zeta-Jones.

But now, 30 years later, ITV brings us a new adaptation, The Larkins, which aims to capture the warmth, optimism, and escapism of The Larkin family for a modern generation. 

But what happened to the original cast of 'The Darling Buds of May'?

David Jason - Pa Larkin 

Sir David Jason on the red carpet

Sir David Jason has become a national treasure since his days in 'The Darling Buds of May'.  (Image credit: Getty)

One member of the cast whose career went from strength to strength is Sir David Jason, who is best known as Delboy in Only Fools And Horses.

The actor, who is now a national treasure thanks to the number of successful TV shows he has appeared in, also earned himself legendary status as Inspector Jack Frost in ITV's A Touch Of Frost until 2010 and took over from comedy hero Ronnie Barker in Still Open All Hours

Other huge TV hits that Sir David Jason has appeared in include Porridge, where he played jailbird Bianco Webb in 1973. 

Pam Ferris - Ma Larkin 

Pam Ferris on the red carpet in 2018

Pam has enjoyed a hugely successful career since 'The Darling Buds of May'.  (Image credit: PA)

The Darling Buds Of May launched Pam's career and since then she has gone on to become a huge star. 

Since playing Ma Larkin, Pam has played the ferocious Miss Trunchbull in 1996's Matlida, mean Aunt Marge in Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, and even played Smithy's mum, Cath, in Gavin and Stacey.

The actress is also well known for her roles in Rosemary and Thyme in which she starred alongside Felicity Kendall, BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit, and between 2012 and 2016 she also played the part of Sister Evangelina in Call the Midwife

Catherine Zeta Jones - Mariette 

Catherine Zeta Jones on the red carpet in Hollywood

Catherine is now an A-List Hollywood star.  (Image credit: Getty)

Playing pretty Mariette in The Darling Buds Of May launched Catherine's career at the age of just 20, and soon she became one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood. 

She went on to star in British films like Splitting Heirs and Blue Juice before heading over to LA and landing herself roles in Oceans Twelve, Entrapment and The Mask Of Zorro, No Reservations, and Traffic.  

The actress met actor Michael Douglas at a film festival in 1998 and the pair got engaged the following year before marrying in 2000. The pair have two children together called Dylan and Carys. 

Phillip Franks - Charley 

Phillip, now in his 60s, went on to star in another ITV hit as Sgt. Raymond Craddock in 1960s Yorkshire police drama, Heartbeat. Since then he has enjoyed roles in Absolutely Fabulous, Midsomer Murders, Bleak House, and Foyle's War. He has also appeared as a regular in Dictionary Corner on Channel 4's Countdown.

Away from the TV screen, Phillip is also a successful theatre director, directing former co-star David Jason in the play A Cold Supper Behind Harrods in 2012.

Christina and Katherine Guiles - Petunia and Zinna Larkin 

Kitty and Chrissie played Zinnia and Petunia Larkin in all three series of The Darling Buds of May, however, they didn't stick to acting after the cameras stopped rolling. Kitty is now a doctor and lives in London, while Chrissie is global health editor at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and lives in Guildford.

Abigail Rokison-Woodall - Primrose Larkin 

Abigail was only 15 when she joined the cast of The Darling Buds of May and after the series ended she earned a doctorate and began lecturing at Cambridge University. She stayed there for seven years before joining the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford Upon Avon.

The Larkins starts on Sunday Oct.10 at 8pm on ITV and ITV Hub.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 


After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off


She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 


As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.