UPDATED MARCH 2016 WITH FIRST LOOK PREVIEW
Keeley Hawes leads the cast of new ITV drama The Durrells
Keeley Hawes (Line of Duty, Ashes to Ashes) will play Louisa Durrell in ITV’s brand new six part series The Durrells, written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye and produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd. International film star Leslie Caron (An American in Paris, Gigi) will also star in the series.
The Durrells is based upon Gerald Durrell’s classic trilogy of Corfu memoirs including the much loved ‘My Family and Other Animals’. Set in 1935, this timeless drama is full of warmth, humour and fun.
The story focuses upon Louisa Durrell (Hawes) whose life is in meltdown. 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, a role taken by newcomer Callum Woodhouse, Margo, 17, played by Daisy Waterstone (Silent Witness, Testament of Youth) and Gerry, 11, with Milo Parker (Mr Holmes, Ghosthunters) cast in the role, are going off the rails. Gerry is obsessed with animals and 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 she can carry on struggling, marry someone comfortably off but oppressive, or make a radical change and escape... from a domestic pressure-cooker, British weather, uptight Englishness and narrow horizons. This is a rescue mission to somewhere her family can heal itself before it’s too late. So, they uproot and move to Corfu!
Over six episodes we’ll follow the Durrell family as they adjust to their new life. Along the way they’ll meet new friends, rivals and lovers.
Alexis Georgoulis (My Life In Ruins, Eisai to Tairi mou) the hugely popular actor in Greece, 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 stars as the shrewd and exotic Countess Mavrodaki who employs Margo as her companion.
A local, Theodore, played by renowned Greek actor Yorgos Karamihos, will welcome the Durrells. He’s sane, wise and knows everything there is to know about the animals and plant life of Corfu, so is an ideal informal teacher for Gerry.
Gerry befriends a convict, Kosti, played by Christopher Sciueref (300: Rise of An Empire, Skyfall), and when Margo and Louisa dig into his past, they are horrified by what they discover.
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."
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, of which Lee Durrell is the Honorary Director, is delighted that Sid Gentle Films Ltd are adapting the work of her late husband. Lee 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.”
Each of the episodes will be written by Simon Nye (Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This, Just William, Men Behaving Badly). The Durrells will be produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd and executive produced by the company’s founder, BAFTA award winning filmmaker Sally Woodward Gentle (Whitechapel, Any Human Heart, Enid). Sid’s Managing Director Lee Morris (Da Vinci’s Demons, Any Human Heart, The Jury) will also executive produce together with Simon Nye. Christopher Hall (Critical, Dracula, Murder on the Home Front) will produce the series, and Steve Barron (Merlin, Treasure Island) will direct.
ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea have commissioned The Durrells.
Filming will take place in Corfu from September 2015.
Note to Editors:
Sally Woodward Gentle formed Sid Gentle Films Limited in September 2013 to produce original and innovative television drama and feature films. Prior to setting up her own company, Sally was Creative Director of Carnival Films responsible for the production of Whitechapel, Murder on the Home Front, The Last Weekend, Any Human Heart and Enid.
The Gerald Durrell classic trilogy of novels includes: ‘My Family and Other Animals’, ‘Birds, Beasts and Relatives’ and ‘The Garden of the Gods’.
Info on the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust: www.durrell.org
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is an international charity working globally to save species from extinction. Headquartered in Jersey in the Channel Islands, Durrell focuses on the most threatened species in the most threatened places.
Established by author and conservationist, Gerald Durrell, in 1963, Durrell is unique among conservation organisations in integrating four core areas of operation: the Wildlife Park in Jersey as a centre of excellence in animal husbandry, research, training and education; the Field Programme which undertakes conservation action where it is needed most; the Conservation Academy which builds the capacity of conservation practitioners; Conservation Science which underpins all activities.
Durrell makes a difference
Its unique approach has saved some of the world’s most threatened species and put them on the road to recovery. See http://www.durrell.org/durrell-index/red-list-index/
Durrell is dedicated
With a track record of more than 50 years Durrell leads some of the world’s longest-running and most successful endangered species and habitat recovery programmes.
Durrell is pioneering
Innovations in field research and action, conservation leadership training, community empowerment and specialised captive husbandry and breeding have led to Durrell’s many successes.
Durrell’s work is vital
As the natural world faces unprecedented pressures that threaten wildlife, wild habitats and people, Durrell’s conservation work is more vital than ever before.