The cast of The Durrells have recounted some of the favourite animal encounters while filming the latest season.
Based upon Gerald Durrell’s classic trilogy of Corfu memoirs, the third season of the hit period drama series premieres in the USA on Sunday 30 September at 8/7c on Masterpiece on PBS.
Keeley Hawes, who plays Louisa, recalled: “We know no-one is going to be listening to anything you say when there is an animal in the scene. We’re used to that now.
“And in this series we also have Frank the sloth. That was quite extraordinary because it’s not an animal you get to see very often. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever seen one before. It’s so unusual – just gorgeous and so cute. However, he was very heavy!
“We had scenes written for Gerry (Milo Parker) sitting with the sloth and moving around with it, but it turned out the sloth was too heavy for Milo. His hands were too small. As were Daisy’s (Margo), so they roped me in – which is why I have a scene holding the sloth.
“It really is an extraordinary animal which, of course, decides to become most animated in the back of someone’s close-ups. Then when you want it to do something, it just won’t move. It was amazing to have that on set.”
Josh O’Connor, who plays Larry, revealed: “As much as the character of Larry avoids the animals, I do anything I can to be with them. They are astonishing animals.
“Roger the dog – whose real name is Mossup – is the best dog in the world. We’re all very hands on with the animals.”
Callum Woodhouse, who plays Leslie Durrell, commented: “I wasn’t as hands on with the animals this year, which was a shame. Last season I had to do a little goat milking and things like that which I really enjoyed. It’s all learning new skills.”
Inevitably, Milo Parker, who plays Gerry Durrell, had the most to say: “One of the new animals Gerry meets in this series is Frank the sloth who’s a dream to work with. Very professional. Normally we have doubles of the animals but there’s just one Frank.
“We also filmed with a young vulture in Corfu – an incredible creature. Even at that age it is huge and it was really fascinating to observe. It was on the top of this beautiful mountain with stunning views.
“Gerry’s menagerie is larger than ever and now includes two flamingoes. They’re not vicious animals but they do have quite an interesting temperament. It was genuinely incredible to see them. As usual, all the members of the team who work with the animals were amazing.
“Gerry tests out theories with the flamingoes to see if their colour changes in relation to their diet. He does this with Theo’s help.
He continued: “A little more of that side of Gerry’s interest in animals comes out in this series. He also has a wall of insects. That was one of the first scenes we filmed. The heat was extraordinary that day. We had some stick insects all over the wall.
“And we see Gerry campaigning against animal cruelty. He becomes quite passionate about how the locals treat their donkeys. Gerry goes out campaigning in Corfu Town appealing to locals to treat their donkeys with respect. He’s trying to convey the idea that animals have feelings too. They can experience pain and neglect.
“I think that was the beginning of Gerry really advancing in this conservation world he has entered. Which, of course, ended up with him creating Jersey Zoo.”
The Durrells is available to buy on DVD now.
ITV confirmed last month that the fourth season of The Durrells, currently filming on Corfu, will be the show’s last.