With the series finale fast approaching, fans of the sun-soaked, quirky family drama “The Durrells in Corfu,” might be feeling a little teary. We aren’t the only ones: the close-knit cast of the period drama have been feeling a bit emotional too.
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Series writer Simon Nye understands, but knew this should be the final season. “I’ve loved writing the show so all my instincts would normally be to try to keep it going, but it is the right time to stop. The (real) family were in Corfu for four years, from March 1935 to June 1939, so who are we to outlive them?”
Below, in their own words, we hear from the cast of “The Durrells in Corfu” what it has been like to come to the show’s ending. No spoilers other than it’s hard to say goodbye, but you already knew that.
Daisy Waterstone, who plays Margo Durrell in the period drama, has been very emotional about the series ending.
I’m sad to leave Margo. I feel like she’s my sister who really needs help and someone to give her advice. She’s given me a lot of advice as well. She’s taught me how to give life a go and not worry about making mistakes, that when you fail just to do something else and keep going. She’s always positive and often she doesn’t mind failing.
I cried when I read the final script. I think it was the last few pages where I suddenly realised that this was the last time I was ever going to read a “The Durrells” script. It was very moving and made me reminiscent about all of the years we’ve spent in Corfu working on the show.
It made me realise how much we’ve achieved in the past four years and how much its impacted my life in a huge way. It’s definitely changed my life and made me more confident. In fact, Margo herself has made me more confident as a person. She’s brought me out of my shell, which is lovely.
Josh O’Connor shares what is was like for him at the end of filming, and what it means to him to have been cast in the role of Larry Durrell.
When I arrived in Corfu for the series, I thought it would be fine but actually when I left the island, it was incredibly sad and teary. We’ve all got to know each other so well and have had the best experiences of our life there. The hardest bit was saying goodbye to the Greek crew because most of them have been with us from the beginning. A lot of the crew were from the local area and they’ve come on this journey with us. We’re always in contact with one another and that won’t change.
“The Durrells” was my first leading role in a television series and I got to work with one of our greatest British actresses, so I guess it started everything for me. I learnt so much from Keeley and Callum, Daisy and Milo. It feels like it was the beginning of everything for me so I do credit what’s gone on since to taking the role of Larry. I don’t take that for granted at all. I’m going to miss working with my best friends which has been a privilege and so rare.
Similarly, Callum Woodhouse (Leslie Durrell) admits that he is in love with the island and that returning to Corfu knowing it would be for the final series was tough, as well as why it took him a whole day to read the final script.
I know it’s cliché to say, but Corfu really does feel like a second home. All of the locals are like our mates now. We could walk into any shop or restaurant and end up having an hour’s chat before I even sat down and ordered anything. Not only has it encouraged tourism in Corfu but everyone is so lovely and I do think they really love the show as it paints the island in such a beautiful light.
It was tough and a weird experience returning for the last time and there was a definitely feeling on set of it being the final one. We all just tried to cherish it a bit more.
I got sent the final episode on one of my days off in Corfu. I was sent it at about 11am and I didn’t finish until about 10pm that night. I had to keep staggering reading it throughout the day as I couldn’t get further than five pages before bursting into tears!
Hopefully, if even a fraction of that translates onto the screen, I think we’re in for a really special last episode. Before I’d read it, I had so many ideas of how I thought the series should end and bits I thought must be in it, and when I read what Simon Nye had done, it had none of those things but it was just perfect in every way. That’s why he does what he does.
We all went out for a meal in one of our favourite restaurants in Corfu Town to mark the end of the series. It’s on the harbour, looking out onto the sea and at the end of the meal, Keeley stood up and said ‘Right, we’re all going in the sea!’ Everyone stood up from the tables and we all followed her into the sea and were swimming about for at least 30 minutes. There were about 40 of us all together and it was very special. Without a doubt, it’s the people I’ll miss the most.
Milo Parker (Gerry Durrell) reflects on his time on the period drama and how wonderful it’s been to film in Corfu, and how he feels as the final series reaches its end.
It was really sad returning to Corfu knowing it was for the last time. Every year we’ve been welcomed with open arms but going for the last time was sad. There is something so special about us all being in Corfu together, and I’m really going to miss it.
It’s going to be so strange not going back next year but I think it’s such a poetic ending to the series and the perfect time to draw it to a close. It’s going to be emotional watching that final episode, but feels like the right place to end the series.
We’ve all become a really tight unit and I think we’ll always have that. I look back at some of the pictures and selfies we took on Series 1 and compare them to selfies we took in the same place in Series 4 to see how much has changed. It’s really hard to believe that we’ve done four series. It’s flown by.
I think I’ve been so lucky to experience such a different culture at such a young age and given the opportunity to go out and live on Corfu for 9 weeks of the year. I’m really going to miss it because it’s been an absolute dream.
Alexis Georgoulis (Spiro) looks back on the series and returning to Corfu knowing it was for the last time working with the British team.
It was heart-breaking from the first day until the last day, because we knew the story was coming to an end. It was like a very long goodbye to the places we love to shoot and hang out at. The Corfiots have been so friendly and I’m going to miss that. I can go for holidays but it’s totally different because whilst we were there we shared everyday life and our routines.
It was a great pleasure to work with a British cast and crew and I’d love to do it again and again. We really collaborated and worked together well. It was very productive and hugely enjoyable. I feel so grateful to have worked on this production.
This story and experience has changed my perspective on life. It’s made me a bit more mature. We spent our time very close to the story and it’s taught us many things. It’s influenced things in my real life and it’s good as an actor to feel and understand the emotions and we couldn’t have that experience if we weren’t in Corfu.
Returning to the role of Louisa Durrell for a final series, Keeley Hawes explains why the fourth series marks a poignant ending to the drama and how her on-screen family have become an important part of her life.
I’m so pleased we were able to tell the story and take it through to its natural end just before most of them left Corfu. It feels like the right thing to have done. Not only selfishly for us but also because it’s such a brilliant story for the viewers. It’s a very satisfying end.
Of course, it didn’t end for the Durrells there. They then went off and, in fact, their lives became even more interesting if that could be possible. Their adventures went up a gear. But for this part of their story it feels like we’ve done them proud. It’s a lovely ending.
We’ve reached the spring of 1939 and the storm clouds have gathered around them. The war is on the horizon. They have to accept that and move on. But it’s still the sunny Durrells that we love. That is so much part of the show. The sunshine and that beautiful Corfu light. The sea and the locations are almost another character. And so it is quite right that we leave with the sun shining.
But it’s not over yet… Also we still see each other a lot. It feels like something that, hopefully, will never go away. because of the nature of it. The kids growing up together alongside me, both on set and away from set. You become a part of people’s lives in a much more intimate way.
I’m five foot ten and Milo is now almost as tall as me. There’s an inch or so in it, but there wasn’t much difference by the end of filming. He’s also got a lower voice. I first saw his voice had broken at the end of the last series when he went on a breakfast show with Daisy Waterstone. This young man opened his mouth and somebody else’s voice came out. That was very odd.
He’s certainly grown up. But Milo was always very mature. Gerry also gets long trousers later in the series. Louisa is not ready for that. I recognise that as a parent myself. It’s just awful how fast they grow up. But Milo looks great in those long trousers. He wears them well. And they were Callum Woodhouse’s trousers. So they are actually Durrell hand-me-downs. Which is only right.
There’s a sense this series of the children all coming back to where they should be. To where they belong. Which is what happens in life. Your children go off because they have to and you need them to. But also wherever Louisa is, that’s their home. Wherever your parents are should be your home. That’s where home will be. Even though it might not be in Corfu. It’s wherever she is.
The actual final scene of the whole show in Corfu we filmed a few weeks before we finished. That was the most emotional. It involved all of the main players and we knew it was the end. That was very sad. It was quite tricky to hold that together. We all had a round of applause afterwards and lots of hugs.
I hope people love the episodes as much as we loved making them. We feel we’ve done the Durrells proud and we hope other people do too.
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When the series ends, there will be something to look forward to: “What the Durrells Did Next,” a PBS MASTERPIECE Special, airs on Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 8pm ET. Read about it here.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to see The Period Films List, with the best historical and costume dramas sorted by era. You’ll also want to read about the books by the real Gerald Durrell, and see the 2019-2020 PBS Masterpiece Period Drama Schedule.