A familiar family return to TV

The plot of The Durrells – ITV’s new Sunday night series might seem familiar to some viewers. That is because it is based on the book My Family and Other Animals which the BBC screened on October 1987 as a ten part serial.

Then in 2005 the BBC made another version of the book as a one off film. That version was scripted by Simon Nye, who is the scriptwriter for the new six part series beginning this Sunday at eight o’clock on ITV starring Keeley Hawes. It tells of the early life of Gerald Durrell, who went on to become a well-known TV naturalist as well as founding what is now known as The Durrell Wildlife Park.

I well remember watching his programmes with interest back in the 1960s when he was collecting animals for his zoo.

My Family and Other Animals is the first of a trilogy of books which tells of his boyhood spent on the island of Corfu between 1935 and 1939.

His mother Louisa was a widow who found it difficult coping with her four rather individualistic and challenging children – Larry, Leslie, Margo and Gerry.

She decided that they should go to Corfu to start a new life.

The youngsters are not at all enthusiastic about this adventure.

Indeed this is a family which often argued.

While in Corfu Gerry developed his great love for all creatures great and small and very soon the house that the family lived in became a home for many different creatures as well.

A few years ago ITV did well with its Sunday night family drama plus animals – Wild at Heart.

So it will be interesting to see if this programme becomes as popular. I wonder if ITV will get to dramatize the other two Durrell books.

Ian K