Keeley Hawes leads the cast ITV drama, The Durrells

International cast announced for ITV drama

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Keeley Hawes (Line of Duty, Ashes to Ashes) is to lead the cast of new six-part ITV drama The Durrells.

Based upon Gerald Durrell’s classic trilogy of Corfu memoirs, Keeley will play Louisa Durrell in the 1935-set drama, whose life is in meltdown in a time when woman’s options are limited. Her husband died years ago and his money has all but run out. Her four unruly ‘children’ Larry, 21 played by Josh O’Connor (Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders), Leslie, 18, newcomer Callum Woodhouse, Margo, 17, played by Daisy Waterstone (Silent Witness, Testament of Youth) and Gerry, 11, and Milo Parker (Mr Holmes, Ghosthunters), are going off the rails.

In a rescue mission to somewhere her family can heal itself before it’s too late, Louisa up roots her family and moves to Corfu!

Among the cast playing new friends, rivals and lovers is Greek actor Alexis Georgoulis (My Life In Ruins) who will be playing the handsome Spiro Hakaiopulos – an all round Mr Fix It, who Margo at first thinks her mother should marry, but Louisa has other ideas; Leslie Caron (An American in Paris) stars as the shrewd and exotic Countess Mavrodaki who employs Margo as her companion; Renowned Greek actor Yorgos Karamihos, as local, Theodore, a wise man who knows everything there is to know about the animals and plant life of Corfu, so is an ideal informal teacher for Gerry. Christopher Sciueref (300: Rise of An Empire, Skyfall), plays convict, Kosti, who Gerry befriends and Margo and Louisa are horrified to discover his past.

The drama is written by Simon Nye (Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This) and produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd. Steve Barron (Merlin, Treasure Island) will direct.

Keeley Hawes said: “I’m delighted to be playing Louisa Durrell. As a life long fan of Gerald Durrell’s wonderful books, I can’t wait to start filming and telling his stories through Simon Nye’s hilarious and poignant adaptation.”

Lee Durrell, Honorary Director of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and wife of the late Gerard Durrell, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Gerald Durrell and his idyllic childhood in Corfu will appear on our television screens. Those sunny, magical days, when eccentric family affairs were interwoven with Gerry’s discovery of the natural world, inspired his life’s work to rescue animals from the brink of extinction.  I hope that the new series will be a gentle, but timely reminder of the importance of Gerry’s work today and will inspire others to take up his cause.”

The Durrells will begin filming from September 2015 in Corfu.