‘The Durrells in Corfu’: What Happened to the Durrell Family After the War?

The Durrell family has enjoyed an idyllic time on the Greek isle of Corfu. But now it’s 1939, and war is looming in Europe. The quirky family at the heart of the PBS series The Durrells in Corfu will soon have to decide whether to leave the island they’ve called home for four years.

The fourth season of The Durrells will be its last. But because the show is based on a series of autobiographical books by youngest son Gerald, or Gerry, Durrell, we don’t have to wonder what happens to the family after the war. If you’re curious about the further adventures of the real Louisa, Gerry, Larry, Margo, and Leslie, read on. But be warned, this article may contain spoilers for the final season of The Durrells in Corfu. 

Do the Durrells stay in Corfu or return to England? 

The Durrell family sitting at a table
The Durrells in Corfu | Courtesy of Sid Gentle Films 2019

In the final season of The Durrells in Corfu, family matriarch Louisa is “sticking her head in the sand” about the threat of war, star Keeley Hawes told the Daily Mirror. Eventually, however, the reality of the political situation becomes impossible to avoid. 

In real-life, Louisa left Corfu and returned to England in 1939. She brought Gerry and Leslie with her, along with the family’s maid, a girl named Maria. The two other Durrell children remained in Corfu, at least for a time. 

Larry and his wife Nancy (who isn’t depicted in the show) stayed on the island, where they had a daughter, who was born in 1940. But by 1941, Greece was fully occupied by the Nazis, and Larry and his family fled to Alexandria, Egypt. 

Margo also stayed in Greece, eventually falling in love with a Royal Air Force pilot named Jack Breeze who was stationed in Corfu. With the Nazis closing in, the couple fled to South Africa in 1940. 

What happened to the Durrell family after the war? 

Louisa Durrell looking out window
The Durrells in Corfu | Courtesy of Sid Gentle Films 2019

The Durrells did not return to live in Corfu after the war. Louisa and her children moved to Bournemouth, England. She lived there until her death in 1964. 

Gerald’s love of animals eventually led him to a career as a prominent zookeeper and naturalist. He was also a prolific author, and his Corfu Trilogy is the basis for the TV series. He died in 1995. 

Leslie got a job in a munitions factory and later ran a farm and worked as a hotel concierge. He had a relationship with Maria and she eventually gave birth to his son, though the two never married. 

Margo spent the wars years in Africa, where she gave birth to her first child in an Italian POW camp. Later, she joined her family in Bournemouth where she ran a boarding house. She died in 2007. Her memoir, Whatever Happened to Margo?, was published posthumously. 

After leaving Corfu, Larry lived in Egypt, Argentina, Yugoslavia, and Cyprus before finally settling in France. He married four times and wrote dozens of books, including one, Prospero’s Cell, that talked about his time in Corfu. His best-known work is a series of four novels called The Alexandria Quartet. He died in 1990.