3rd April 2016

The Durrells debuts on ITV

Jersey Zoo founder Gerald Durrell spent four years of his childhood in Corfu. His account of those years was published in three volumes, which were given the small screen treatment by ITV in 2016. In total, the network produced 26 episodes in four series, with the last airing on 12 May 2019.

Milo Parker played the young Gerald Durrell, Josh O’Connor was his author brother Larry, and Keeley Hawes played Louisa Durrell, their mother. Filming took place in Corfu and at studios in London.

The Durrell family moves

In the first episode, which aired on 3 April 2016, widowed Louisa Durrell makes the decision to move her family from dreary Bournemouth to sunny Corfu (in reality, Gerald’s brother, Lawrence, was already living there with his wife, but this was altered for TV). Once on the island, Gerry (Gerald) makes friends with a local naturalist and thus blossoms the love of animals that would one day result in the founding of Jersey Zoo.

The first series was a success, attracting high viewing figures and positive reviews. The decision to commission a second series was therefore no surprise. By the start of the fourth series, Gerry’s plans for a zoo were taking shape. Set in the years running up to the Second World War, it is inevitably the global conflict that draws it to a close. Gerry frees the animals he has captured on the island and most of the family – aside from gun-mad Larry – return to England.


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