The Durrells, Series 2: cast, locations, and three other things to know as the Keeley Hawes drama returns

Ben Travis
Sid Gentle Prod/ITV

Some period dramas we love for their brooding emotions and intense romance – but The Durrells is something different.

ITV’s show is perfect Sunday night fare, feel-good, gentle, and beautiful to look at.

Here’s what you need to know about Series 2.

1) It continues the adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s books

Milo Parker as a young Gerald Durrell (Sid Gentle Prod/ITV)

Writing about his own unusual childhood, author Gerald Durrell published a trilogy of books about his young life growing up in Corfu.

The original tome – My Family & Other Animals – is the most famous, but the show also draws from sequels Birds, Beasts & Relatives, and The Garden of the Gods.

2) The family is more settled this time

Following the adventurous tone of Series 1, The Durrells are more used to their life in Corfu on Series 2.

“We left the Durrells making a life for themselves and trying to get by, and when we return we see now they are getting on with it,” says star Keeley Hawes.

“They are trying to make this life work. Rather than discovering and exploring they are there and making a go of it.”

3) It proved the ‘don’t film with animals’ rule

You wouldn’t guess it from the finished result, but the animals aren’t always easy to wrangle.

“The animals do throw in an unknown quantity for a writer, and I’m told I continue to be optimistic in my stage directions,” says writer Simon Nye. “But if you don’t ask for a quizzical look from a donkey, you don’t get it.”

Hawes adds: “There was a scene with a donkey, a goat and a chicken that jumps onto the table. It’s great when you read it in the script, you think ‘that’s going to look fantastic’, but filming it isn’t easy – ten hour later we were still filming it.”

(Sid Gentle Prod/ITV)

4) It was partly filmed in Corfu

You can’t mistake some of those locations – the gorgeous vistas in the show were shot in Corfu, where the drama is set. Away from those beautiful views, the series also filmed in Ealing Studios in London.

5) There are some special guests

After proving a hit last year, The Durrells has attracted some recognisable guest stars for the new run.

Una Stubbs – who Sherlock fans will recognise as landlady Mrs Hudson – plays a ‘spiritualist’ called Mrs Haddock, while Australian actor Daniel Lapaine joins as Louisa’s new love interest Hugh Jarvis.

ITV, Sunday, 8pm