Rollover Information
About the Series Schedule The Archive Learning Resources The American Collection Home Search Shop
My Family and Other Animals
Author Gerald Durrell Production Notes Synopsis/Episode Descriptions Who's Who Links + Bibliography The Forum Masterpiece Theatre My Family and Other Animals
Synopsis [imagemap with 6 links]


This is the story of a five-year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek island of Corfu. It was originally intended to be a mildly nostalgic account of the natural history of the island, but I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first few pages. Having got themselves on paper, they then proceeded to establish themselves and invite various friends to share the chapters. It was only with the greatest difficulty, and by exercising considerable cunning, that I managed to retain a few pages here and there which I could devote exclusively to animals...
     -- My Family and Other Animals

Escaping the dreary wet weather of 1930s England, the eccentric and bohemian Durrell family uproots and ship themselves off to the sun-drenched Greek island of Corfu.

The ragtag Durrell family -- 12-year-old budding naturalist and intrepid biologist Gerald, acne-infested Margo, gun-loving Leslie and overbearing intellectual Larry, and their sympathetic widowed mother -- experience the joys of living a life of freedom and adventure.

With the help of larger-than-life taxi-driver Spiro, who has something of a soft spot for Mother, the family move to a succession of different, fantastically colored villas across Corfu.

While Gerald explores the glorious landscape, the wildlife it has to offer and befriends the local population, Mother has other ideas: fearing her son is growing too wild, she is determined that he receive an education. Gerald's moral as well as more conventional education is put in the hands of three very different young men, two of whom are more distracted by Margo's flirtatiousness than by Gerald's zoological enthusiasm.

First of all there's George who loses out to Margot's Turkish boyfriend; and then Peter, a caddish young man who is happy to leave Gerald writing by himself while he pursues Margo at any cost.

Of more lasting emotional importance for Gerald, though, is Theodore Stephanides, a biologist and witty raconteur who is young Gerald's link not only to the marine and insect life that Corfu has to offer, but also to its rich cultural beauty. Spending so much time in the garden and fields watching one branch of the animal kingdom in its natural habitat allows Gerald to learn more incisively about the habits of an altogether different species: his family.

Author Gerald Durrell | Production Notes | Synopsis
Who's Who | Links + Bibliography | The Forum

Home | About The Series | The American Collection | The Archive
Schedule & Season | Feature Library | eNewsletter | Book Club
Learning Resources | Forum | Search | Shop | Feedback

WGBH Logo PBS logo


Masterpiece is sponsored by: