The endearing characters who make up the historical Durrell family, captured enjoying life in the iTV Series The Durrells, are back gain for their fourth and final season. Not sure about you but I will most definitely hate to see them go.
They have made us laugh, as well as cry, and their wondrous adventures have been strangely comforting, as we follow their extraordinary and quite wacky homely family life living in a faded farmhouse on the idyllic island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea.
The fact the island is peopled by Greeks, people of passion and style, definitely helps. There is Spiros (Alexis Georgoulis), the delightfully dotty Louisa’s unrequited love interest, whom she believes wants his cake and eat it too… his wife at home and her as his friendly ‘bit on the side’.
Louisa Durrell is played by English actress Keeley Hawes, one of her most endearing roles to date, in a career that has seen her mostly embracing dramatic roles.
Here she shows off her wonderful gift for comedy, aided by her eldest literary inclined son Larry (Josh O’Connor), her gun toting highly emotionally driven son Leslie (Callum Woodhouse), her delightfully ditzy daughter Margo (Daisy Waterstone), plus everyone’s favourite son, the nature loving Gerald (Milo Parker).
The series has been based on the autobiographical trilogy of books by Gerald Durrell, the naturalist, explorer, writer and conservationist, about his family settling on Corfu island in 1933. What an extraordinarily rich experience it must have been for them all.
Previous seasons of the series have featured Corfu old town, one of the eighteen (18) UNESCO protected monuments of Greece, as well as some of the islands most breathtaking views. It has meant a tourism bonanza for those who live on the island permanently.
Don’t read any more unless you want spoilers.
Written for TV by Simon Nye and Gerald Durrell, since Series 3, the youthful Gerald has undergone a transformation, his voice breaking and deepening, as he springs up to become a ‘tiresome teenager’, who is constantly bringing new animals home to study.
This time it’s a barn owl, with a heart shaped facial disc, which ensures it is very cute, while being a complete nuisance as far as Louisa’s ‘boarders’ are concerned, as it poops all over the place.
Louisa has started a new enterprise, after having painted all the rooms of their divine farmhouse with bold colouring. On the top floor they now have a very stylish penthouse to rent out, hoping the revenue will help boost the family’s life style choices.
However, Louisa hadn’t counted on having a fugitive from justice as the room’s first guest, Lazaros Vangelatos, places the villa under police scrutiny. Self effacing, as the family warms to this man incredulously wanted for attempted murder, they have to figure out how to help him to escape. It’s all sheer lunacy but it works.
In the second episode the new guest is Colonel Ribbindane, a gun toting killer of nature, whose visit also doesn’t quite go according to his plan, especially when his past catches up with him. He hires Leslie to help him, who because of his pining to become a father, brings a baby along on the hunt… has to be seen to be believed. Talk about socially inappropriate!
In the first two episodes we say a fond goodbye to Larry, who moves on up the coast. He’s seeking a place to write without quite so many interruptions, while Margot spreads her wings and flies off to live with Professor Yorgos Karamihos (Theo Stephanidis), whose only reaction is to look mightily alarmed.
We discover he is a delightful neatness obsessive par excellence, nailing his chairs to the floor so they stay ‘symmetrically’ inclined. Her just being in his house is like all his nightmares come true at once, however fond of her he may be.
Louisa is still in a stand-off situation with Spiros, and their formality when they are together, is placing a strain on all family members, who want to see them being relaxed and happy together once more.
Their house help Lugaretzia (Anna Savva) is having serious back issues and so has to have time off, while Louisa’s only boarder her relative Basil is daily receiving clothing parcels from England.
Basil (Miles Jupp) is a relative of sorts who Louisa is now charging rent, a fact he doesn’t mind. He is totally infatuated with his hostess and wanting to make her his own… she being completely oblivious at first to the idea, until he declares his love, much to her chagrin.
Men can be so bothersome. Especially one she believes is dressed to look like Toad of Toad Hall!
Misunderstanding something she says to him, he buys her a curved bridge, which stands in the yard, not over water, much to everyone’s amusement.
Having just endured two very hard weeks personally, The Durrells returning was just the tonic I needed. Love, laughter, luscious scenery and sensational settings on Corfu, which has because of this wondrous series, become known as a wacky paradise on earth.
Tourists flocking, tv addicts watching, Season 4 of The Durrells is likely to be a huge success. Keeley Hawes is truly amazing, I do hope they nominate her for this wondrous gem at Bafta time.
Watch it and see!!!!
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2019