One of the brightest spots in the drama category at the BBC Showcase in Liverpool earlier this year was The Durrells. Based on ‘The Corfu Trilogy’, three autobiographical novels (which include ‘My Family and Other Animals’) by environmentalist Gerald Durrell, The Durrells is set on the Greek Island of Corfu in 1935, and follows the adventures of Gerald and his family as they make Corfu their home.
Starring Keeley Hawes (Spooks, Ashes to Ashes, Line of Duty) and written by Men Behaving Badly creator, Simon Nye, the story focuses upon Louisa Durrell (Hawes) whose life is in meltdown. Widowed years ago and running out of money, Louise has four unruly ‘children’ to look after: Larry, Leslie, Margo and Gerry, all going off the rails in their own way.
Gerry, 11, is about to be thrown out of school; Larry is a would-be novelist but the worst real estate agent in Bournemouth, and the middle two are hitting adulthood like a car-crash. It is the 1930s, and a woman’s options are pretty limited so Louisa decides to take them all to the untamed paradise that is Corfu, a distinct contrast from their life in England.
Gerald Durrell’s real life adventures on Corfu instilled a passion for animals and the natural world. His love of animals and his pioneering conservation vision continues today through the organization he founded nearly 60 years ago, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.
The first set of 6, one-hour episodes follows the Durrell family as they adjust to their new life meeting new friends, rivals and lovers along the way. The Durrells will become part of the PBS drama catalogue on Sunday evenings beginning in October which, combined with the return of Poldark and Indian Summers, is stacking up to be full of put-on-the-calendar viewing on PBS this Fall.