ITV’s The Durrells follows the titular family’s adventures in Corfu in the mid-1930s. In an attempt to avoid the family’s financial problems, widow Louisa Durrell decides to move her family from Bournemouth to Corfu. Louisa decamps with her four children to the Greek island and takes up residence in a ramshackle old house.
As series one won over viewers last year, the island of Corfu itself became another character in the story with its dusty olive groves, wild countryside, clear blue sea and lots and lots of animals. With The Durrells returning for a second series, we take a look at where the series was filmed.
The Durrells is partly filmed on the island of Corfu – which adds to the authenticity of its locations – while a number of interior scenes are filmed at Ealing Studios.
Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian Islands and is nestled off the very north-west coast of Greece. Its 236 square miles have long been an inspiration to writers, artists and visitors alike.
Known as Kerkyra in Greek, the name Corfu is said to be derived from and Italian version of the Greek word koryphi – which means peaks or crests, referring to the mountainous northern part of the island.
Corfu is perhaps the most British of the Greek islands – thanks in part to its long and storied history. The island has been in the hands of many different powers over the centuries, among them the Goths, the Lombards, the Venetians and Napoleonic forces.
In 1815, at the end of Napoleon’s power, Corfu became a British protectorate. This meant there were a succession of Lord High Commissioners, who governed the island from the Palace of St Michael and St George – which you can still visit.
In 1864 Corfu was handed over to Greece – but the British influence continues in unusual ways. There is even a cricket pitch in the middle of Spianada Square in Corfu Town.
Dassia, an area on the eastern coast of Corfu known for its beach and gardens, is one location used by The Durrells crew.
“In Dassia we know most people there,” says Josh O’Connor, who plays Lawrence Durrell.
“We’re like minor celebrities in that little bay and it’s so nice and we totally get special treatment!”
The opulent home of Countess Mavrodaki – played by Gigi’s Leslie Caron – was filmed somewhere with even more regal connotations. Mon Repos, a large villa located south of Corfu City, was used. Although it is now an archaeological museum, Mon Repos is where Prince Philip was born. It was at the time a summer residence for the Greek royal family, and Prince Philip was the son of Prince Andrew of Greece.
A bay where Margot liked to sunbathe in series one was filmed just south of Agni Bay on the north east of the island. Away from countryside and villas, filming also takes place in Corfu Town.
Danilia Village near Kontokali on the east coast is another location used by The Durrells. Danilia village is a replica of a 1930s Corfiot village restored to its former glory by hoteliers the Daskalantonakis family. Containing village squares, church, narrow lanes and taverns, Danilia Village oozes traditional charm – making it an ideal filming location. In addition to The Durrells, Bond film For Your Eyes Only was also filmed at Danilia.
As new cast member Daniel Lapaine says: “Corfu’s an amazing place to film because basically any direction you point the camera, you’re going to get the most beautiful landscapes and the most incredible shots and vistas that you can imagine.”
Photo credits: SID GENTLE PRODUCTIONS/iTV, Neil Farrin/robertharding/REX/Shutterstock, Grecotel