The Durrells might be hard-pushed to be described as a drama, but is nonetheless charming entertainment. Gentle, quaint and irresistibly old-fashioned, ITV’s adaptation of Gerard Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals is feel-good family entertainment at its best.
After the death of their husband and father, the family left behind are four precocious children and their stressed mother. After her youngest child faces difficulties at school for being ‘difficult’, Louisa Durrell (Keeley Hawes) uproots her family to Corfu, where they move into a dilapidated, crumbling villa. Naturally, the family become entangled in a series of light-hearted and amusing escapades.
Unique to this adaptation is the attention that is afforded to the mother. In previous adaptations and indeed the novel, her character is lost in the chaos that her offspring cause. Scriptwriter Simon Nye has given her the spotlight, and created a sympathetic heroine at the centre of the programme, giving more substance to an otherwise frivolous endeavour.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Greek coastlines, The Durrells is charming and humorous television.
Image: Michael Gleave