Series based on books by Gerald Durrell about his family’s adventures in Corfu, debuts in the U.S. on PBS on October 16.
The Durrells go to Corfu
Gerald Durrell, a celebrated British naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author, and television presenter, spent his formative years on the island of Corfu. In 1935, at the age of 10, his mother moved him and siblings to the island, to join Gerry’s brother, Novelist Lawrence Durrell and his family. Gerald developed a penchant for local fauna during the family’s 4 years on Corfu.
As an adult, Gerald chronicled the family’s adventures adapting to life on a Greek island in 3 books, now known as The Corfu Trilogy. Masterpiece Theatre adapted the books into a series. Highly regarded in Europe, the much-anticipated series has finally made its way to the U.S.
Q&A with ‘The Durrells’ Producer Christopher Hall
‘The Durrells’ will make their U.S. debut on Sunday, October 16 on PBS. We caught up with Producer Christopher Hall and spoke to him about the series.
WindyCity Greek: What attracted PBS to The Durrells?
Christopher Hall: The quality of the show. ITV was looking for a successor to ‘Downton Abbey’ and although ‘The Durrells’ is very different, the first outing of the Durrells in the UK had a success comparable to the first episode of ‘Downton Abbey’.
WCG: Is it true to the books or simply based on the story?
CH: It is true to the spirit of the Corfu Trilogy. For this reason it was entitled ‘The Durrells’ rather than “My Family and other Animals”. In any case, the books are not really written in a structure suitable for TV drama. They are very anecdotal rather than giving the characters satisfying story arcs. Also, we wanted to change the emphasis of the series so that Louisa Durrell was the focus of the story. Gerry and his animals and the family generally are a crucial part of the mix, but Louisa is the fulcrum around which everything is centered.
WCG: It was well-received in the UK. Do you think American audiences will appreciate it?
CH: I think that good drama is universal and if it works for one nation it is likely to work for all.
WCG: What should viewers expect to see?
CH: Sunshine, animals, and a family drama full of interesting dynamics and humor.
WCG: The series debuts October 16. How many episodes are there?
CH: There are six episodes in the first season.
WCG: How long did it take to film the series?
CH: We filmed for eight weeks in Corfu and six weeks on location in the UK.
WCG: How did the cast and crew like Corfu?
CH: We have all fallen in love with Corfu and the Corfiots. It is a most welcoming and beautiful island. It has a magical effect on everyone.
Catch ‘The Durrells’ on PBS
Beginning October 16, PBS will air the six episodes of season 1. Check local listings for channel and times.