Gerald Durrell’s trilogy of Corfu memoirs is being turned into a six-part mini series by Britain’s ITV. Set on the Greek Island in the 1930s, the story follows the widow, Louisa Durrell, and her four young children who escape an unraveling life in England to the cheap and untamed paradise of a Greek island.
Gerald Durrell three classic tales of childhood on an island paradise- My Family and Other Animals, Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods by Gerald Durrell were condensed into one edition and will now be portrayed on film.
Following the death of her husband, money is tight and her four unruly children— Larry, Leslie, Margo and Gerry— are on a downward spiral. One is about to be thrown out of school, while the others are hitting adulthood like a car crash.
But in the late 1930s in England, a woman’s options are limited and Louisa realizes she can carry on struggling, marry someone well-off and be oppressed— or make a radical change and escape— from domestic hell, awful British weather, uptight Englishness and limited horizons— to the Greek wilderness which is not only cheap, but is a place to allow for personal exploration and growth.
There are worse places to rescue a family – an island fringed with warm, azure sea, the land teeming with wildlife and offering an abundance of oranges, lemons, olives and kumquats. The family discovers friendship where they least expect it while they struggle to overcome from their near poverty existence in England, the language barrier and the occasional yearning for home.
But Louisa’s biggest challenges come from within her family. Bright and courageous but realistic, she knows they will bring most of their crises with them, and add a few more.
Her oldest son and budding writer Larry hasn’t stepped up to be the man of the house and his cutting sense of humor and lack of filter often creates havoc.
Leslie, with a mother complex, is fascinated by guns almost as much as he learns he is fascinated by girls.
Margo is a walking bundle of neuroses until feminism stirs; while Gerry is endlessly inquisitive about animals and people. Happy to spend hours staring at beetles on a wall, he can go missing for days on epic nature trails and turns the house into a zoo.
Not that Louisa herself is perfect. She drinks too much and has a temper. She is not too proud to break down and weep. Only in her 40s, she says she is happy to be single, but nobody believes her.
“Gerald Durrell’s novels are some of the warmest, wittiest, books of the last century. It is no wonder they are so well loved. It is a real treat to be working on them with the brilliant Simon Nye. I hope that his obvious love of the characters and the material will be hugely infectious,” said Sally Woodward Gentle, producer of the series.
Filming will take place in Corfu from September 2015.