Thursday, November 26, 2009

HE Bates

When I was a teenager I was asked by my headmaster who my favorite author was. I replied, H. E. Bates. My headmaster had never heard of him. Herbert Ernest Bates, CBE (16 May 1905 – 29 January 1974), better known as H. E. Bates, was an English writer and author. He wrote well over a hundred novels and collections of short stories.
His best-known works include Fair stood the Wind for France, Love for Lydia, The Darling Buds of May, and My Uncle Silas.

We have been watching the TV series of The Darling Buds of May, which we missed first time around. It stars David Jason and marked the screen debut of the beautiful Catherine Zeta-Jones (Mrs Michael Douglas). The series is marked by a generosity of spirit that is heart warming. It was first shown during the 1991 recession.

H. E. Bates wrote five books involving the Larkin family, the titles of the first four of which were used as episode titles for the TV series. The first book (much butchered) was made into a movie called The Mating Game, starring Tony Randall and Debbie Reynolds. Pop Larkin was played by David Jason who can also be seen on cable in Only Fools and Horses and Inspector Frost; Ma Larkin, his common law wife, was played by Pam Ferris who was a hit in Roald Dahl's Matilda and can be seen in Rosmary and Thyme on cable, Philip Franks played Cedric Charlton (Charlie) and is currently in Heartbeat as the local copper. He has lost his golden locks and now has short grey hair. As for Miss Zeta Jones, she is as beautiful as ever.

One odd fact about the TV series: Charlie and Marriette have a son, John Blenheim, who is played by a girl, Daisy-May Bates, the great granddaughter of H. E. Bates.

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