This seems to have been a mixed reaction to this, but I rather liked it. It was like The Durrells: no-one was saying that it was particularly intellectually challenging, or even particularly realistic, but it was a welcome bit of comfortable, easy viewing. Given that practically every programme these days begins with a warning that it contains scenes which some viewers may find distressing, and ends with a list of helplines for people who have been “affected by issues raised in tonight’s episode of X”, I for one am well up for that. It’s going to be very hard to match up to the iconic David Jason/Pam Ferris/Catherine Zeta Jones series from, unbelievably, thirty years ago, and it *didn’t* manage that, but it was all right. The TV listings seem to be filled with series about murder, domestic abuse, children being abducted, and so on, and even soap operas are filled with doom and gloom. This is a bit of light relief. Bring it on!
I don’t know about nostalgia for the 1950s, but I would certainly love to get back to a time when aggressive, abusive people didn’t try to turn absolutely everything into a culture war. I was already feeling a bit fed up earlier, after I’d had to complain to the moderators of a children’s book discussion group I was in after two individuals tried to turn it into class war. One of them apparently thought it was OK to object to working with anyone who had a “plummy voice” and a name “like Piers”. Since when was it OK to hate someone just because you don’t like their accent or, for heaven’s sake, their name?!
Then I idly Googled “The Larkins”, and up came a review written by some vile individual called Sean O’Grady, for the misnamed “Independent”, saying that it was “a Brexit television abomination” and that Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries wrote “opioid atavistic tosh”. Excuse me? What on earth does a fictional TV series about life in a village in the 1950s have to do with either Brexit or Nadine Dorries? O’Grady is clearly one of these bittter types who can’t accept that they aren’t entitled to get their own way on anything and everything, but what on earth has that got to do with the Larkins? And this was in what used to be a mainstream, middle-of-the-road newspaper, not some extremist political tract!
Then there’s the debate over the fact that the Larkins live in, to quote journalist Anita Singh, a “racially diverse utopia”. It’s completely unrealistic for a rural part of Britain in the 1950s. But, had it not included any ethnic minority characters, people would have been shrieking about a “lack of diversity” and demanding that it be taken off air. When the BBC showed their adaptation of A Suitable Boy, which had a predominantly Indian cast, people complained about stereotyping. I feel sorry for scriptwriters and producers. Whatever they do, they can’t win. But, again, why does a bit of light Sunday evening TV have to be turned into a culture war? Seriously, folks, just try being nice. It’s not a crime. Stop having a go at people. And please stop bringing your personal political views into something to which they have absolutely no relevance!
Heigh-ho! OK, rant over. To get back to The Larkins, not an awful lot actually happened. Mariette wanted to go and work as an au pair in France. Ma and Pop weren’t keen. Pop advised Miss Pilchester on a house sale. Some lad upset Primrose, and Mariette had a go at him. There was a fuss over who should be the Master of Foxhounds. Pop bought a car.
And Ma gave Montgomery, Primrose, Zinnia and Petunia a lecture about how they always should kind and polite and treat other people with respect. I couldn’t agree more.