Ready for a fresh start? Meet The Durrells in Corfu! The series is a six-part adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals (and its two sequels), and follows one unconventional mother and her four children on their quest to start anew. But before you escape to Corfu, be sure to meet the family! Get to know the colorful characters, and the actors who portray them, with MASTERPIECE’s introduction to this sun-drenched series with a biting wit.
Louisa Dixie Durrell
Part mother bear, part circus ringleader, Louisa Durrell makes the fateful decision to bring her family to the other side of the world. Louisa’s deep love for her children is evident by her constant wrangling, bargaining, and finding ways to get them out of trouble. But Corfu has a habit of shaking things up, and by every account Louisa could use a change. Will this new life bring her love, happiness, or something unexpected?
Strengths: Courage, Food Foraging, and Faking It ‘Til She Makes It
Weaknesses: Gin, Financial Woes, and the Promise of Romance
Cast Secret: According to The Telegraph (UK), actress Keeley Hawes () once listed My Family and Other Animals when asked for “A Book That Changed Me.” She said, “Having never travelled or really been anywhere, it opened up a whole other world of possibility for me.”
This wannabe Bohemian can be found furiously pounding away on his typewriter, working hard (or hardly working) on his big break. The eldest Durrell is doing his very best to be an infamous, debauched author, but his erratic work ethic means that his greatest works exist only in his imagination. Will Corfu awaken his muse, or he destined only for stiff drinks and sarcasm?
Strengths: Writing, Dramatics, and Brutal Honesty
Weaknesses: Writing, Kumquats, Narcissism
Cast Secret: Actor Josh O’Connor took Larry’s antique typewriter back to his hotel so he could practice using it, but the constant tapping earned him complaints from his neighbors. “They were like, ‘Can you please shut up? Use a laptop.”
The family misfit (and that’s saying a lot) is the second-eldest sibling, Leslie: a gun-toting, melancholic teenager who much prefers the independence of the outdoors to his siblings’ company. Because of his strong connection to his mother, Leslie fancies himself the man of the house, and frequently tries to prove himself as alpha male by hunting, gathering, and shooting everything in sight. Let’s hope, for his family’s sake, that Corfu helps this lone wolf develop into something more human.
Strengths: Marksmanship, Grit, and Brute Strength
Weaknesses: Machismo, Moodiness, and Generally Low Intelligence
Cast Secret: Actor Callum Woodhouse had to learn many new skills for the role of Leslie, including how to skin a rabbit and how to shoot, disassemble, and clean a variety of firearms.
The Durrell daughter is an aimless and lovelorn free spirit, but the first to cheerfully admit she’s “dim.” She aches to be the modern siren she sees in fashion magazines, and even more than that, to find her purpose. Greece’s tradition of philosophical awakening might be just what this blossoming wallflower needs on her journey to womanhood.
Strengths: She’s not quite sure yet.
Weaknesses: Killer Clothes, Foreign Boys, and Champagne Taste
Cast Secret: During the audition process, actress Daisy Waterstone had a particularly memorable audition with fellow actor Callum Woodhouse (Leslie) which ended in her slapping him. She said, “I thought, ‘Oh gosh, I hope that’s not going to mess it up.’ But somehow something worked there.”
The youngest Durrell child is driven by his imagination, and can be found wandering in a field, exploring marine life, or finding new four-legged guests for the family’s villa. Though he’s not as keen on human interactions, Gerry’s wide-eyed curiosity and open spirit allow him to make friends easily. Corfu is his personal paradise, and this sense of optimism is sure to help the family navigate their new life.
Strengths: Flora, Fauna, and Making Unusual Friends
Weaknesses: Schoolwork and Polite Society
Cast Secret: Despite being the youngest member of the cast, actor Milo Parker has already built an impressive resume, including a Tim Burton film (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) starring Judi Dench (Cranford), and a role alongside Ian McKellen and MASTERPIECE host Laura Linney (Mr. Holmes).
–and get ready to meet the residents of Corfu!