For once, the Daily Express today asks the important question: “Will there be another season of The Durrells?” A lovely, very gentle light comedy but with a little pathos thrown in, why would you not ask for more. Answer: because it’s run its course.
The third season finished last night, just as it started, with a real dud of an episode. It was clear the producers were trying to tie lots of loose ends, so clear it was clod-hoppingly contrived and ridiculously unbelievable. For me, it had the air of a TV show whose producers had not made up their minds to try to squeeze out another series. It’s about time they did.
The Durrells really existed. The TV show features many of the real life characters but in a fictional setting. I am guessing that ITV deemed the reality of the Durrells insufficiently interesting to base an entire show on the factual aspect of their lives and then make up everything else. Whilst at times, the Durrells provided a wealth of well-acted and well-written entertainment, I am struggling with the idea of turning real life stories into fiction.
I have not read Gerald Durrell’s ‘My family and other animals’ but I am familiar with his brother Lawrence’s work. ‘Larry’, as us showbiz types refer to him, bore more than a vague resemblance to Josh O’Connor’s interpretation of him but, if I am being totally honest, the rest of this real life family were reduced to being absurd fictional versions of what they really were.
Most TV dramas are fictional and that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. By its very nature, television represents escapism from real life which is probably why, with the exception of certain sports, I watch less of it now than I ever did. My issue with the Durrells is that it has crossed a line. A not very important line in the grand scheme of things, but a line nonetheless.
ITV can of course milk the idea and make endless series of the Durrells in situations that never happened and doubtless the viewers will still view and the advertisers will still advertise. I would rather remember the show for what it was in the first two series and let it now slip away to UK Gold where it can be repeated forever and a day.