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Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

First forays into TV Production on The Larkins

Thirty years ago, The Darling Buds of May aired on TV for the first time. It went on to become one of ITV’s all time greatest comedy dramas, winning critical acclaim and the hearts of a captivated audience across the nation.

So, when three industry trainees were offered the opportunity to work on The Larkins, they leapt at the chance.

Ismael Abdulahi, Jonell Rowe and Grace Basak spent five weeks on the production, working alongside the cast and crew across different departments.

The Larkins is ITV's new six-part television adaptation of H.E. Bates’ novel The Darling Buds of May, and is written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye (Finding Alice, The Durrells, Men Behaving Badly).

It tells the story of a working-class family led by the golden-hearted wheeler dealer Pop Larkin (Bradley Walsh) and his wife Ma (Joanna Scanlan), together with their six children, including the beautiful Mariette (Sabrina Bartlett).

The trainees gained real insight into what goes on behind the scenes on a set, shadowing a variety of different departments and learning brand new skills. Here’s what they had to say on their experiences.

Ismael Abdulahi - AD/Locations Department

“The five weeks have been so amazing. I’ve gotten to know so many great people and it’s been such a huge learning experience - what I know now about TV production compared to what I knew in my first week is a world of difference. I really want to say a big thank you for everything. Getting my foot in the door felt so impossible and somehow the stars aligned and I got connected with ITV. I feel very blessed to have gotten this opportunity. I couldn’t have asked for a better first job in the industry.”

Jonell Rowe - AD Department

“Thanks to ITV, I was given an incredible opportunity to work as an AD Trainee for The Larkins. I really enjoyed my time working alongside the amazing cast and crew members from different departments. I have truly learnt a great deal during my time on the production and gained the experience necessary to help elevate me to crafting a long and fulfilling career within film and television production.”

Grace Basak - Art Department

“Having never set foot on a set before, it was incredible. In only five weeks I learnt so much from my colleagues about the production industry, especially working in the art department. I found how aligned my varied adaptable skills are with the industry and gratefully became a valued member of the team. Roles included everything from prop making, painting, petty cash buying, travelling between locations, helping with set up and take down on locations and much much more. I worked hard and felt respected and valued by the team.”

While we’re still seeing the effects of the pandemic on television and film productions, the slow but steady road to normality has meant a boom in the industry as filming resumes. The huge demand for new content has meant even bigger productions, larger crews and more behind the scenes talent.

As the industry tackles a skill shortage, never has there been a more urgent need for more talented production crews - and subsequently, more trainees.

Starting out in television is daunting, but opportunities like The Larkins allow potential future industry leaders to gain that all-important experience. It equips them with the skills they need to succeed, ultimately elevating both the quality of production and the finished content.

The Larkins is airing now on Sundays - watch the show now on the ITV Hub

Written by Zahra Lee (Apprentice - Daytime Junior Journalist • Studios)

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Diversity, Equality and Inclusion