Bradley Walsh has landed himself a “perfick” role as Pop Larkin in ITV’s remake of The Darling Buds Of May.
The 59-year-old has quit Doctor Who having grown tired of the “relentless” filming schedule.
But his decision to leave the sci-fi show came as he was also offered the plum role of happy-go-lucky Pop in ITV’s reboot of H. E. Bates’ classic tale of country folk.
An insider revealed: “The original series, starring David Jason, Pam Ferris and Catherine Zeta-Jones, was an enormous hit, so the casting on the remake has to be just right.
“Everyone thinks Bradley will do a brilliant job as Pop. He’s perfick.”
ITV bosses are bringing back The Darling Buds Of May 30 years after it proved a ratings juggernaut from 1991 to 1993, pulling in more than 20million viewers and even out-rating Coronation Street.
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The programme made a star out of Zeta-Jones, who played eldest daughter Mariette.
In the stories, set deep in rural 1950s Kent, Ma and Pop provide for their six children by selling scrap and picking strawberries with Pop often indulging in dodgy money-making schemes.
The 90s TV adaptation starred Pam Ferris as Ma Larkin and Philip Franks as Mariette’s unlikely boyfriend Cedric “Charley” Charlton.
Bosses are now hoping that the gentle comedy of the books will prove a worthy successor to The Durrells, which ended last year leaving a hole for Sunday night family drama.
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The series is being scripted by The Durrells’ writer Simon Nye and is expected to start shooting later this year.
Walsh, who has starred in two series of Doctor Who, has loved getting back into acting.
He said his favourite part of playing the Doctor’s companion Graham O’Brien was him as a family man, growing closer to his step-grandson ’s Ryan Sinclair.
He said: “It’s really been terrific, because it is a lot of emotional wrestling.”
Last night ITV declined to comment.
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