The Darling Buds of May-The Perfick Collection (1991)

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Released 25-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 1002:41
RSDL / Flipper RSDL
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Rodney Bennett
David Giles

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring David Jason
Pam Ferris
Philip Franks
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Julie Davis
Abigail Rokison
Christina Giles
Katherine Giles
Stephanie Ralph
Ian Tucker
Moray Watson
Rachel Bell
Kika Mirylees
Case ?
RPI $89.95 Music Pip Burley
Barrie Guard

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:

    The title of this whimsical television series is based upon the Shakespeare sonnet from which I have included an excerpt above. This series was shown on ITV in the UK between 1991 and 1993 and included 9 episodes and 2 specials, all of which are included on this 6 disc set. Each episode was approximately 100 minutes in length and was shown over two weeks. The specials are approximately 50 minutes each. The set is basically in the order the episodes were shown on television, except that the second special which was shown between episodes 6 & 7 is included last on this set. It does not make a huge difference as the special in question does not advance any of the ongoing storylines. This special, Le Grand Weekend, also answers the question I posed in my teaser on the main page. Gollum (or at least a very young Andy Serkis) guest stars in this special as Greville, a young man who is on the same trip as Pop & Ma Larkin (the main characters).

    The Darling Buds of May follows the mild adventures, family dramas and love of life exhibited by the Larkin family. They live in the idyllic world of 1950's Kent, 'The Garden of England', on a farm near a small village. The patriarch is Pop 'Sidney' Larkin (David Jason), a lovable rogue who enjoys his food, loves a drink, enjoys flirting with women, always has a plan or a deal on the go and has a heart the size of a horse. He always tries to help everyone around him whether they are his family, friends or even people he has just met. The matriarch is Ma 'Flo' Larkin (Pam Ferris), a well padded woman who loves to cook, runs a tight household and has a heart nearly as big as Pop's. At the beginning of the series they have 6 children. The oldest is Mariette, a beautiful young girl (played by a young and comely Catherine Zeta-Jones). The others are Montgomery, the only boy; Primrose; Zinnia & Petunia, the twins and Victoria. The show is based upon the novels of H.E. Bates. Besides the family there are a number of recurring characters, however only three of these are important. They are Angela Snow (Kika Mirylees), a friend of Pop and one of his female admirers who he gets involved in his schemes, Edith Pilchester (Rachel Bell), another of his female admirers who lives in the village and is quite lonely and The Brigadier (Moray Watson), a retired Army officer who is chairman of the town council.

    The episodes are:

    Overall, this is a very enjoyable and relaxed television series with many pleasures to be found, although it is pretty light so may not suit those who like their TV gritty. By the way, this collection in the shops is subtitled 'The Perfick Collection' because Pop constantly describes things as 'perfick'.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is average.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced, which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was fairly clear and sharp throughout but badly affected by grain and colour bleeding, with no evidence of low level noise. From a sharpness perspective it was watchable but no more. The shadow detail was generally poor but luckily was not needed too often.

    The colour was washed out and suffered from a number of colour artefacts, especially bleeding and rainbow effects on clothing. The bleeding affected light colours worst but most were affected to some degree or other.

    Besides the colour artefacts there were also significant amounts of specks and flecks, minor aliasing on jackets and the like, some tape tracking artefacts and some minor edge enhancement.

    There are no subtitles.

    Most of the discs had layer changes which were quite obvious and caused significant pauses. One disc was a DVD5 and therefore did not have a layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is fine but certainly nothing spectacular.

    This DVD contains one audio options, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. The sound quality was reasonable although was fairly flat 

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The theme tune by Pip Burley is good and suits the series well. Other incidental music was composed by Barrie Guard and does its job without standing out.

    The surround speakers were not used.

    The subwoofer added a small amount of bass to the music but this was as a result of my amp's bass management, not the soundtrack itself.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menus were very simple and allowed for episode selection only.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Previously, a three episode set of this series was released in Region 2 & 4, including episodes from all three series. The full series has also been released in Region 1 and includes a number of extras including interviews with the cast, biographies & picture galleries. Region 1 seems to have the edge as it actually has some extras, although reviews indicate the picture quality is just as bad.


    A whimsical, feel-good English TV series from the early 1990s which follows the lives of the Larkin family, who live on a farm in 1950s Kent..

    The video quality is average.

    The audio quality is fine.

    The disc has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, December 20, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
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