The Durrells: meet the kids

The young actors playing Leslie, Larry, Gerry and Margo reveal what it’s like to play the children to Keeley Hawes’s Mrs Durrell

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Callum Woodhouse, 22 plays Leslie, 18

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“It’s good playing someone slightly younger because you can look back and see what makes that age funny. Leslie’s obsessed with guns, so I had to learn how to shoot and how to skin a rabbit, which was unpleasant. For the new series, I had to learn to milk a goat, which is very, very satisfying when you get it right.

“Leslie is a total mummy’s boy — which I can completely relate to — so that was easy to step into, especially when you’re playing against someone like Keeley.
 This was my first job out of drama school and she was amazingly helpful, guiding in a motherly way, but never condescending. She has brought us all together in the nicest possible way.”

Josh O’Connor, 26 plays Larry, 24

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“Larry’s a miserable old sod — I’m desperately trying to
 find little nuggets of niceness in him. I did a lot of research into the real Lawrence Durrell, but 
I don’t think we’re trying to do
 a biopic here — for a start I’m twice his height. I’ve read most of his novels now, and they’re completely sex-fixated, so we’ve got that bit right.

“A couple of years ago, I went 
to Glastonbury with Douglas Booth, who I worked with on The Riot Club; girls were falling over him and I was just traipsing around in his shadow. Last year at Glastonbury was a bit different, and that has to be down to the ‘Larry effect’. In real life I’m sheepish and shy, so the whole thing’s hilarious.”

Milo Parker, 14 plays Gerry, 11

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“I don’t think there’s anyone quite like Gerry. I don’t think anyone can replicate how passionately devoted he was to his animals. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I’m definitely a lot more confident now, especially after interacting with the new animals we’ve got on the show this year. Last year, I was nibbled by a pelican on my shoulder. It was pretty awful!

“I’m supposed to be 11, and life for 11-year-olds was very different in Gerry’s time. You’d go out and explore to entertain yourself, or you’d read books. There wasn’t even electricity. Now you’re on your phone or your iPad all day, and that’s quite sad, I think. So it’s very nice to spend eight weeks of the year in 1935!”

Daisy Waterstone, 22 plays Margo, 16

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“Margo is still trying to figure herself out, which is good, because even though she’s 16 and I’m 22, I’m trying to figure myself out, too. So it’s nice to do it with someone else. I think of Margo as being uncomfortable in her body — she’s boy-mad, but she’s a bit awkward and it doesn’t help that in this series she’s covered in acne.

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“I’ve got seven older siblings, so it was quite easy for me to blend into a family atmosphere. At my audition, I actually punched Callum in the arm, because he looked quite punchable and he was supposed to be my brother. And then at the read-through with all the others, something just clicked. The family dynamic somehow just fell into place without us having to try.”