ITV to adapt Gerard Durrell’s book trilogy

Simon Nye brings Corfu drama to ITV

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ITV has commissioned a new six-part drama, The Durrells, written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye (Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This), and based upon Gerald Durrell’s classic trilogy of Corfu memoirs.

Set in 1935, the story focuses upon Louisa Durrell whose life is in meltdown. Her husband died years ago and his money has all but run out. Her four unruly ‘children’ Larry, Leslie, Margo and Gerry are going off the rails. Gerry, 11, is about to be thrown out of school; Larry is a would-be novelist but the worst 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 limited.

Louisa realises the family needs to make a radical change and escape… to Corfu. There is fighting and outright refusal, especially when they find out there is no electricity – how dare she drag them off to a Greek wilderness. But Corfu is cheap, and an untamed paradise.

They discover friendship where they least expect it while they struggle to overcome near poverty, the language barrier and the occasional pang for ‘pudding island’.

But Louisa’s biggest challenges come as ever from within the family. Budding writer Larry hasn’t stepped up to be the man of the house and his cutting sense of humour 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.

The Durrells will be produced by Sid Gentle Films Limited and executive produced by Sally Woodward Gentle (Whitechapel), who commented: “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.”

ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November said: “The Durrells is a rollercoaster, adventure drama. The characters are struggling with the eternal dilemmas of family life when Louisa sets her heart on moving to Corfu. It’s a unique and engaging drama.”

The Durrells will begin filming in Corfu from September 2015.