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A job in Corfu working with children and animals? Ashes to Ashes and Line of Duty star Keeley Hawes reveals why she couldn’t say no to working on ITV’s new six-part series, The Durrells.

Taling about ITV’s dramatisation, based on the trilogy of memoirs by naturalist and zoo-owner Gerald Durrell, Keeley explained: “I have been filming ITV’s new series The Durrells. It’s a six-parter and based on the Corfu trilogy, the first one is called My Family and Other Animals, and they were written by Gerald Durrell about his upbringing in Corfu in the 30s.

“I play his mother Louisa Durrell, who… decides to shake their lives up, on a bit of a whim, and take the whole family, and the dog, and all their worldly possessions, to Corfu in to in order to give them all a better quality of life.”

But when they arrive on the island with all of their belongings, and very little money, the locals are left scratching their heads at first.

Keeley explained: “They were a bit of a circus and something very foreign. By all accounts the locals fell in love with them, particularly Gerry, who was everyone’s favourite.”

She has massive respect for Louisa’s bravery: “I’ve got nothing but admiration for Louisa Durrell. It would be difficult enough now to do what she did, let alone in the 30s, with no money. There was no easy way of getting there, it was literally like travelling across the world.”

Laughing, Keeley added: “Nowadays social services would be after you like a shot if you decided to take your children out of school and uproot them to stay Corfu on a seemingly endless holiday! So the fact she did it… It just blows your mind, really.”

Keeley revealed she has absolutely no reservations about working with children and animals now filming has finished: “You’re not supposed to work with children and animals, but after this experience I don’t really want to work with anybody but children and animals! I was very lucky in that my ‘children’ were just fantastic, and I genuinely love them all.”

For the full interview watch our video, above.

The rest of The Durrells cast are Josh O’Connor, who stars as wannabe novelist, Larry, 21; Callum Woodhouse who portrays gun-mad Leslie, 18; Daisy Waterstone who portrays awkward 17-year-old Margo; and Milo Parker stars as 11-year-old Gerry, who’s obsessed with animals.

The Durrells premieres on Sunday, April 3 on ITV