The Darling Buds of May is a British television series which was first broadcast between 1991 and 1993 produced by Yorkshire Television for the ITV Network. It is set in an idyllic rural 1950s Kent, among a large, boisterous family. The three series were based on the novels by H. E. Bates. Originally categorised by Yorkshire TV as a drama, some regard it as a comedy. The earlier episodes are perhaps more comical, and the episode "A Season of Heavenly Gifts", is certainly more dramatic than the others.

    The key characters were Pop Larkin (David Jason), Ma Larkin (Pam Ferris), who were unmarried, their eldest daughter Mariette (Catherine Zeta-Jones), and tax-collector Cedric Charlton (Philip Franks), who is re-christened Charley by the Larkins. Charley arrives at the beginning of the first episode to get Pop Larkin to fill in his tax forms. He is distracted from this when he falls in love with Mariette Larkin at first sight, and the Larkins distract him even further by attempting to teach him to play crib, and getting him drunk. In spite of his terrible hangover the next day, he becomes captivated by the idyllic country life led by the Larkins, and ends up as a member of the family.

    The show was an instant success for the network with the show's feel-good factor during a period of economic recession often noted as the reason. The show launched the acting career of Zeta-Jones.

    "The darling buds of May" is a quotation from Shakespeare's sonnet XVIII: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May | And summer's lease hath all too short a date.

    The programme was filmed in the village of Pluckley, Kent and nearby locations. The farm used in the series is a private residence and not normally open to the public but can be visited once a year on the occasion of the Darling Buds Classic Car Show, [1] an annual charitable event held in the farm grounds with the permission of the owner. No filming was done inside the farmhouse, the interiors having been shot in a studio, but devotees of the series are free on that day to see all the external locations used around the farm in the programme.