The youngest Durrell on becoming a teenager and working with Keeley Hawes
Fans of The Durrells will notice that the baby of the family, animal-mad Gerry, played by Milo Parker, is really growing up this series.
But while he’s showing signs of early teenage rebellion, Louisa worries he’s missing out on important parts of his childhood, not least of all his studies. His knowledge of flamingos might be second to none, but he isn’t learning very much else…
Unsurprisingly the prospect of swapping nature rambles for homework doesn’t fill Gerry with excitement, and this week he falls out with Louisa over her plans to get him into the local school. Who will win out?
Here, star of film and TV Milo Parker, 15, reveals what else is in store for the youngest Durrell, and what he’s learned from co-star Keeley Hawes…
We’re seeing Gerry grow up this year, is he turning into a tricky teenager?
Milo Parker: “Well he’s 13 and he’s more mature than others his age, because he’s been given so much independence. But he’s also facing the typical issues that come with entering the teenage years, his hormones mean he’s quite snappy and is having arguments with Louisa.
“She doesn’t really understand just how fast Gerry is growing up, to her it doesn’t seem that long ago that Gerry was a baby crawling about on the floor. She is struggling to let go, while Gerry doesn’t really understand Louisa’s point of view. He gets annoyed because he wants more independence.”
You’re 15 now, can you identify with Gerry’s adolescent stresses?
MP: “I can definitely relate to Gerry, absolutely 100 per cent. I have the same moments with my mum, I have the odd strop! My dad always comes out to Corfu with me and most of the time he manages not to embarrass me. [laughs] I love him to pieces, I’m so grateful because without him I wouldn’t be able to come out and film here. I’m still very much a kid inside – I like playing X Box and football with my friends.”
What’s in store for Gerry as the series continues?
MP: “Louisa attempts to get Gerry into a Greek school soon, but it doesn’t go too well, so that’s really funny. Gerry also gets his first girlfriend, Galini. He’s attracted to her from their first meeting, however his friend Theo keeps getting in the way, so that leads to a difficult conversation.”
We know you enjoy working with the animals, what were the flamingos like this year?
MP: “It was very exciting to work with them, but quite scary too. They’re very timid and tame unless they feel they’re in danger for some reason, and then they completely freak out! I had a bit of a scare when one of them went a bit crazy. Frank the sloth was a dream to work with, he’s very professional, and it’s always nice to have scenes with Mossup, who plays Roger the dog – she gives me a big fuss like a best friend, which is very sweet. The pelicans show no emotion at all, they just want their fish.”
You’re an ambassador for Gerald Durrell’s zoo in Jersey, has that brought more exciting opportunities this year?
MP” “Yes I got to meet David Attenborough at an event, which was fantastic! He’s an idol of mine, so that was incredible for me. I just love supporting a charity that I’m passionate about, it’s an honour to be able to help promote their essential conservation work.”
Are you starting to get recognised on the street?
MP: “I am, I’ve been stopped for quite a few photos with people which is strange because I’ve never had that before, it’s crazy. It’s all very new to me, but it’s fantastic that they enjoy the show. The Durrells has been a fantastic experience with so many positive effects on all of our lives, I genuinely love acting so I hope I can keep doing it.”
Do you ever talk to Keeley about work, and career advice?
MP: “Absolutely, yes. I was watching the third series of Line of Duty during filming, we talked about that a lot. It’s fantastic to be able to discuss acting with such an experienced actress, and to learn from Keeley. We talk about the actors she’s worked with, including some pretty big names, it’s amazing to get an insight into what she’s done. She’s perfect for the role of Louisa.”
The Durrells continues on ITV this Sunday at 8pm.