The British family of endearing characters, captured enjoying life on the glorious Greek island of Corfu in the iTV Series, The Durrells, just prior to World War II, have finally said their goodbyes, as their Arcadian idyll comes to an end with episode 6 of Season 4.
Must say, it will be sad to see them go. They have provided a glimpse of chaotic familial normality in a TV season generally full of crime, murder and mayhem, ghastly reality shows and endless reruns.
Written by Simon Nye based on the memoirs of his family’s years living in Corfu by Gerald Durrell, their antics and well developed complex relationships have been delightfully portrayed in the television series, over four seasons, by a truly stellar cast of actors.
All have been well chosen for their roles, convincing us all of just how special, and very different to us mortal folk, The Durrells really were.
While trying to be ordinary The Durrells proved to be unique and quite extraordinary, and I am sure there were many shedding a tear or two at the end, as we finally had to let them go.
Don’t Read Any More If You Don’t Want Spoilers.
The array of sun baked aesthetically pleasing buildings in the town of Corfu, as always look their picturesque best, as Louisa Durrell (Keeley Hawes) goes shopping for produce at the beginning of Episode 3.
There she runs into the love of her life Spiros Halikiopolous, (Alexis Georgoulis) out shopping with his wife, from whom we have believed he was more or less estranged. Although we have never met her until this point in time.
English speaking with a seeming warm disposition as a first impression, meeting her certainly makes Louisa feel very uncomfortable for the first time, about her own personal relationship with Spiros, the man she now, after three seasons (years) regards as being her ‘man about the house’ and her very own Greek hero.
Louisa is feeding, not only her family but also the truly crazy group of boarders in her now popular boarding house, who threaten to ruin her reputation and nearly have her run out of town as the postman poses as a friend, but behind her back, becomes an informer.
These four episodes highlight Louisa and Spiro being in love and his moving into live in her house causing a scandal. Some may think it is sad they never consummate that love, which would been unthinkable for them both with the judgemental morality of Greek society combined with the teachings of the church at the time,
It also shines a spotlight on Leslie, who in Larry’s absence in Paris, becomes Louisa’s right hand man, a scout leader and a generally all around good guy. He crazily tries to help his mother’s love life along, by interfering in matters he would have been best to have left alone, to often hilarious results
Gerald with handyman help from Spiros, finally finishes establishing his first zoo. He’s as dotty as he has ever been about his animals and is also springing up fast, as his voice deepens gradually into that of a young man.
Margot leaves her mother and brother and sails off to spend some time back in England, emboldening herself with some wisdom, gaining a new boyfriend along the way. He returns with her when she races back to Corfu, having heard the Germans have occupied Albania, only an hour away across the water from their home.
Impending doom means finally, they will have to all return to England, especially if they want to honour the Greeks of whom they have all become so increasingly fond, as well as seek to save their own lives
Enjoy the many delightful incidents, surprises and the multitude of marvelous moments both sad and happy throughout the season, especially as Spiros and Louisa say goodbye.
As it turns out, saying farewell, swapping paradise for Bournemouth, happens by presenting a play based on the Greek legend of Odysseus, written by Larry, who has turned up at the end to tell them he is staying as he is to become a spy.
The end of these short but ‘sacred years’ turns into a happy event for Margot as her long lost Turkish love Zoltan arrives, usurping her new handsome Greek suitor, which is enough to start a war on its own. Zoltan is hoping he’s not too late to claim her virginity.
The family with Spiros, Theo and Lugrezia all dottily dine in the sea one last time. Enjoy.
As always, 4/5
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2019