EXCLUSIVE: ITV has commissioned The Durrells, a six-part series, written by Simon Nye (Men Behaving Badly) and produced by Sid Gentle Films. The Durrells is based on Gerald Durrell’s classic trilogy of Corfu memoirs including the much loved My Family And Other Animals.
The story focuses upon Louisa Durrell whose life is in meltdown. Widowed years ago and running out of money, Louise has four unruly ‘children’ to look after: Larry, Leslie, Margo and Gerry, all going off the rails in their own way. Gerry, 11, is about to be thrown out of school; Larry is a would-be novelist but the worst real 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. So Louisa decides to take them all to the untamed paradise that is Corfu.
Set in 1935, each of the episodes will be written by the acclaimed Nye, whose other credits include Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This and Just William. The Durrells will be produced by Sid Gentle Films and exec produced by company founder Sally Woodward Gentle (Any Human Heart). Sid Gentle managing director Lee Morris (Da Vinci’s Demons) will also exec produce together with Nye. Christopher Hall (Dracula) will produce.
“Gerald Durrell’s novels are some of the warmest, wittiest, books of the last century, ” said Sally Woodward Gentle in a statement. “It is no wonder they are so well loved. It is a real treat to be working on them with the brilliant Simon Nye. I hope that his obvious love of the characters and the material will be hugely infectious.”
ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea commissioned the series. Filming will take place in Corfu from September 2015.
This reps the second high profile commission for newbie production banner Sid Gentle and former Carnival Films exec Woodward Gentle. The company also has Len Deighton adaptation SS:GB set up at the BBC with James Bond scribes Neil Purvis and Robert Wade writing.