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In 1935, financially strapped widow Louisa Durrell, whose life has fallen apart, decides to move from England, with her four children (three sons, one daughter), to the island of Corfu, Greece. Once there, the family moves into a dilapidated old house that has no electricity and that is crumbling apart. But life on Corfu is cheap, it's an earthly paradise, and the Durrells proceed to forge their new existence, with all its challenges, adventures, and forming relationships.
In 1935, beleaguered Bournemouth mother Louisa Durrell decides to uproot her family and build a new life on the sun-drenched island of Corfu. However, with money problems and four unruly children to care for, even a new start might not be enough to banish her troubles.
Larry falls dangerously ill, and it falls to Theo and his neighbour Sven to put their rudimentary medical skills to the task of saving his life. The family's money worries continue, but Spiros brings them good news from a surprising source. Gerry adds to his growing menagerie, while Margo is emotionally wounded - but gets little sympathy from Leslie.
Margo takes great pride in her new job at the surgery, but after a chance encounter with a recluse, she begins to realise where her greatest talent lies. Louisa grows closer to Sven, but as Gerry befriends a convict and Leslie begins spending all his time in the local bars, she begins to suspect she has made a mistake bringing her children to Corfu.
Leslie falls in with a bad crowd and ends up being falsely accused of armed robbery, prompting Louisa to take desperate measures to save him. Margo takes a shine to a gardener at the Villa Mavrodaki, Captain Creech returns, and the family realises the extent of Gerry's passion for animals when he turns his bedroom into a centre for scientific learning.
The family faces the unwanted arrival of a domineering aunt, while Larry's girlfriend also pays a visit - giving the unwelcome relative an opportunity to voice her disapproval of the whole family. Sven makes an offer that helps Louisa cope with adversity and Margo falls in love - but Gerry is more concerned with his newly acquired owlets.
The family prepares for a celebration, and Margo is determined to persuade the reclusive Countess Mavrodaki to attend. Sven is put to the test by his potential family, but seems to make a good impression. Gerry begins to question whether keeping animals in his personal zoo is fair, and considers releasing them into the wild.
Louisa tries to raise some money by selling homemade food, which attracts the attention of another Englishman. However, a former lover threatens the family's idyllic existence. Gerry comes up with a plan to breed otters, Leslie accidentally shoots Roger, and Margo considers becoming a nun.
Larry's latest novel is being published in England - but his siblings do not seem to be very impressed, his mother is more concerned with baking food to sell at the market, and even his attempts to show off in a local bar go unnoticed. Louisa attempts to make it up to him by organising a public reading. Leslie overhears Pavlos explaining to Margo how he makes liquor out of kumquats, and decides to launch a business venture brewing his own - but his sister does not approve of stealing the monk's recipe.
Celebrating her birthday motivates Louisa to adopt a more youthful look. Gerry has a bewildering time with Kralefsky.
Aunt Hermione arrives with her friend who claims to be a medium, and so they hold a seance to see if Louisa can be reunited with her late husband.
Sparring for Louisa's attention, Hugh and Spiros decide to hold a cricket match between the Greeks and the Brits.
Hugh poses a life-changing question to Louisa, only to find himself a victim of Vasilia's jealousy.
When the family learn that Leslie has three girlfriends, Louisa decides to help him choose which one to pick.
Louisa and Larry are both devastated to find that a dear relative has died.
Larry travels with Louisa to Aunt Hermione's Bournemouth home.
The family receives a telegram from Larry, who is in Athens for a short trip, announcing that he has a friend coming to stay – Prince Jeejeebuoy. Concerned about Gerry's education, Louisa also seeks advice from Theo.
Spiros spends time with a glamorous Italian family who have recently arrived on the island. Louisa is jealous of the attention he is paying their new neighbors and invites the new neighbors over to learn more about them. She ends up convinced they are hiding something, while Margo feels threatened by their eldest daughter. Larry joins the fire service, and Gerry falls in love.
The family plan a party to celebrate Gerry’s 13th birthday, but when a plague of mosquitoes descends, they are forced to hold it inside. As the party planning progresses, Louisa is finding it hard to accept that her youngest is growing up. Gerry insists that he doesn’t want a fuss, but gets frustrated and upset when the party is clearly aimed at someone much younger. Trying to pick up the mood, Margo’s transformation of an otherwise disastrous party results in hilarious antics as everyone but Spiros seems to join the party spirit. His distant behaviour concerns Louisa who wonders why he has locked himself in a room to sing sad love songs.
Louisa finds it more than a little awkward when Larry invites Henry Miller to stay. Insisting on walking around naked, the liberal contents of Henry's novels raise heated discussions within the family. Meanwhile, with the Greek government clamping down on ‘immoral behaviour', Sven is arrested due to his sexuality. Larry is incensed and demands Margo obtain books on miscarriages of justice and fighting fascism from the Countess. However, learning that she is not permitting anyone to enter her villa, Larry takes matters into his own hands.
In the Series 3 finale, the family meets members of a travelling circus, and gets involved in helping them to drum up business. Larry falls in love with a contortionist, while Margo takes to the ring in person to perform a very dangerous act. Gerry is more concerned with making sure all of the animals featured in the show are well-treated. Spiros cannot bring himself to return to his empty house and begins spending more and more time at the Durrells' home - but the magic of the circus brings him and Louisa closer together.
Louisa throws herself into running her boarding house, but mysterious guest Lazaros Vangelatos places the villa under police scrutiny.
Louisa finds herself fending off unexpected romantic advances. Leslie's arranged hunt for new guest, Colonel Ribbindane, doesn't quite go to plan when his past revisits him.
Louisa's plan for a family picnic to Kalami goes awry when she inadvertently invites Spiros's wife. The Durrells are surprised to discover Captain Creech's new business venture.
With the house guests getting ever more rowdy, Louisa worries about the villa's reputation. Margo finds a surprising way to bond with Maud, while Gerry realises he has feelings for Galini.
The residents of Corfu are excited at the prospect of an imminent official visit from the King of Greece, and the Durrells are keen to get themselves involved with the welcoming committee. Leslie takes over leadership of a scout troop. Love may also be in the air for Margo as she makes her return home to the island.
With storm clouds gathering, the islanders realise they can no longer ignore the rumblings of war, just as it looks as though the Durrells - particularly Louisa and Spiros - may have found their happy ending. Larry marks his return by throwing an audacious play for the locals, but there are surprises for every member of the family. Series finale.
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