There is quite a nice little TV mini-series from British ITV showing on the Seven Network at the moment, called "The Durrells". It is two episodes into a six-episode series, and, based on what's been shown so far, is quite cute and fun. It's showing on Tuesday nights.
The Durrell family are (or were) quite real. Lawrence Durrell (no longer with us) was a famous novelist, while his younger brother Gerald (also no longer with us), was a well-known writer, naturalist and zoo-keeper, quite the David Attenborough of his day. Their sister, Margo (now departed), also wrote a memoir of family reminiscences. There was a third brother, Leslie, but he was the black sheep of the family: run-ins with the law and dubious, even fraudulent, financial dealings. He wasn't spoken of much by the others.
Anyway, the four Durrell children, with their widowed mother Louisa, lived for a while on the Greek island of Corfu in the late 1930s, trying to escape English weather, English poverty, and monotonous (in their eyes) English civil culture. In later years, Gerald wrote three books – known as "the Corfu Trilogy" – very loosely based on his experiences there. The current TV series is based on Gerald's trilogy. The story has been filmed before, but this current version is a lush, colourful, and attractive version of the tale.
It's one of those stories where middle-class family, escaping poverty and the throes of suburbia, move to quaint, picturesque, Mediterranean island, replete with charming, quirky locals, and try to adapt to their new surroundings. Naturally, they live in a quaint, tumble-down manor house by the sea, where the plumbing doesn't work, beasties lurk in every corner to terrify our suburban escapees, but the marine views are fantastic. Yes, I know we've seen this sort of thing before – movies & TV series such as "A Year in Provence" and "Under the Tuscan Sun" have a similar premise – but this one has (so far) a humorous quirkiness that is a little bit different.
Louisa Durrell is well played by English actor Keeley Hawes, as well-meaning, but distracted and barely-coping. As well she might be: her four, more or less teenage children are rag-tag, argumentative, eccentric, and little disposed to help her. Lawrence passes himself off as a writer, even though he has published nothing yet; Gerald is forever roaming the countryside, collecting bugs and bringing them home to terrify the others; Leslie is gun-mad and keen on shooting everything; while 16 year-old Margo is constantly imagining herself in love with local boys. The four actors who play the kids are very good, though I'm not particularly familiar with them. I think the series must have been filmed on location, because there are a number of (presumably) Greek actors who play local island characters, such as the kindly taxi driver who befriends the family. All these support players are very good. The scenery is beautiful.
The whole thing is highly enjoyable – so far – even though some aspects of the real family's story have been left out or altered: for example, Louisa Durrell in real life did not originate the family's move to Corfu; her son Lawrence was already married, he and his wife had already moved to Corfu, so Louisa and the three remaining siblings followed them. You probably also need to overlook the inherent improbability of a near-broke family being able to afford a spacious house (albeit a crumbling one), on a beautiful hill with fantastic sea views, on an exotic island. Still, it was 1935, the Great Depression was still around, so real estate prices were probably dirt-cheap back then.
At the end of episode two, the family have run out of money, are facing starvation, their Greek friends are starting to help, but the Durrell siblings, as per usual, are having difficulty in adjusting to the realities of their situation. The next four episodes should, hopefully, be as fun and entertaining as the first two.
Definitely worth a look. You can catch up with the first two episodes on 7Plus online.