Gerald Durrell’s semi-biographical fiction about life on Corfu is crammed with so many adjectives describing the Grecian landscape it’s almost unreadable to the Jack-Reacher-instant-gratification readership of our times.
But at the heart of the novel is a fantastically heart-warming and funny portrayal of a family forced to leave their home in Bournemouth and set up in the very foreign surrounds of 1930s Greece.
This is precisely what ITV’s The Durrells touches upon and has been touching upon for the last three series, to glorious effect.
Led by the brilliant Keeley Hawes as the matriarchal Louisa, the show is an uplifting and amusing nostalgia trip set under the golden Mediterranean sun.
Louisa has four children: Gerry, Margo, Leslie and eldest son Larry (played by Josh O’Connor, who won a 2017 BAFTA for his performance as Johnny Saxby in God’s Own Country).
Louisa’s children are strikingly different in character. Gerry has a love of animals that he expresses with more devotion than any dregs of love he holds to his family. While on the flip side of the drachma, Leslie has an obsession with guns.
Yet even though the children are contractively disparate, they all share a wonderfully dry wit which they regularly exercise on each other to the viewer’s great amusement.
And at the heart of all great stories is a love story; the blossoming romance of the spinster Louisa and the newly determined bachelor Spiros.
Spiros, the Grecian family friend of the Durrells who welcomed them to their new home in Corfu, is recently split from his wife. Will Louisa find romance with her long-term friend before she decides to return to England for good? Or will hers and Spiros’ paths be divided forever?
That’s where series three has left the story of the Durrells. However, a show this good, and with such a growing fellowship of admirers, means ITV has to commission a fourth series to see if Gerald Durrell and co get their fairytale ending in the fairytale setting of Corfu.
I thought they didn’t make clever, humorous, character-driven shows anymore. They do.
Catch up with the complete Series 3 of The Durrells on ITV Hub now.