I’ve been very fond of this show since it began due in no small part to growing up on Jersey where Gerald Durrell’s well-known zoo is located.
Despite flirting with being called ‘Durrell Wildlife Conservation’ the CEO confirmed this year that the name is to revert to simply being Jersey Zoo.
Part of what makes this bright and colourful drama so special is the way it can be set so far from home and yet still feel like you’re coming home when you settle down to watch it at 8 o’clock on a Sunday evening. The Durrells inhabits a cosy and comforting view of the real world with its larger than life characters, breath-taking Corfu scenery and it’s none the lesser for any of that.
I could wax lyrical about the sublimity of Keeley Hawes’ performance in a role so unlike her most famous ones. Louisa Durrell is no Zoe Reynolds, nor is she a Lindsay Denton, but Hawes imbues Louisa with a genuine warmth that makes her so relatable.
This week it’s Simon Nye’s brilliantly witty script which must be celebrated as we experience what might possibly be my favourite episode yet and one which focuses heavily on Lawrence ‘Larry’ Durrell.
When Larry’s first novel is finally published, he’s excited to discover the public and his family’s reaction to the book. However, Larry’s confidence takes a significant knock after he realises no one on Corfu, including his family, have even read it and a genuine attempt from his mother to put things right by organising a book reading ends in humiliation for Larry. As Larry reaches his lowest ebb, Theo brings him mail from England full of positive reactions to his novel and reveals the postman had been too scared of Gerry’s animals to deliver them. Later, Larry announces he’s getting a place of his own and moves out despite his mother’s pleas for him to stay.
Louisa’s dalliance with the staggeringly posh toff Hugh continues this week and his attempts to woo Louisa with romantic music are cut short when she drolly remarks ‘Sven used to play the accordion. That put rather a strain on our relationship.’ After Hugh fails to show up to Larry’s book reading Louisa is disappointed and makes it clear that she and her children come as a package but Hugh redeems himself when he takes her out for an al fresco dinner. Elsewhere, Louisa almost causes a rift with Mrs Petrides but is taken aback when Florence reveals she’s pregnant.
Meanwhile, after Gerry stays out all night with Roger, Louisa realises her untamed youngest son needs teaching and persuades Spiros to be his tutor, however, Spiros’ methods prove unorthodox and his strictness reminds Gerry unhappily of his schoolmasters back in England. There’s a happy ending of sorts when Spiros makes amends by bringing Gerry a cage with some magpies to add to his ever-growing animal collection but Gerry is further dismayed when his mother introduces him to his new tutor.
Margot continues her training to be a nun but soon realises she’s too fond of boys to properly commit to such a lifestyle change and Larry and Leslie start up a short-lived Kumquat Liqueur business.
Aired at 8pm on Sunday 30 April 2017 on ITV.
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