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Despite the omissions and inaccuracies, Lawrence Durrell commented "This is a very wicked, very funny, and I'm afraid rather truthful book – the best argument I know for keeping thirteen-year-olds at boarding-schools and not letting them hang about the house listening in to conversations of their elders and betters".
The book was written in 1955 in Bournemouth, where Durrell was recuperating from a severe attack of jaundice.
Whereas Durrell often claimed to find writing a chore, this book was different: his first wife Jacquie recalled "Never have I known Gerry work as he did then; it seemed to pour out of him".
The chronology of events as they occur in the book is also inaccurate, and the reason for the Durrells' departure from Corfu (World War II) is not given; instead, it is implied that the family returned to England for the sake of Gerald's education.
However, the book does succeed in preserving the impressions of ten- to fifteen-year-old Gerald extremely vividly and with a great deal of light-hearted humour.
Nigel Marven of the Natural History Unit, Bristol was responsible for the animals side of the production; Denis Mc Keown, then Ph D student in Psychology University of Sussex did the training of the famous pigeon Quasimodo in the series.
The whistling for the theme tune was provided by Ken Barrie who was also the original voice of the children's television character Postman Pat. as Louisa Durrell and Milo Parker as Gerald Durrell.
Theodore Stephanides who provides Gerald with his education in natural history.
Other human characters, chiefly eccentric, include Gerald's private tutors, the artistic and literary visitors Larry invites to stay, and the local people who befriend the family.
BBC First's Dutch channel also shows The Durrells, with Dutch subtitles.
In 2006, the Jersey Arts Centre's Theatre in Education company produced the first stage version, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the book's publication in 1956.