Saturday, March 25, 2006

Henry Miller in Durrell Teleplay On PBS

On April 9, 2006, be prepared to see Henry Miller portrayed in the television adaptation of My Family And Other Animals, which dramatizes the early years of Gerald Durrell and his family.

The teleplay was adapted from the Gerald Durrell autobiography of the same name, which focuses on his childhood in Corfu and the development of his interest in animal life. The book doesn't mention Henry Miller at all, but this adaptation--by Men Behaving Badly writer Simon Nye--includes biographical elements not included in the original source material. This includes a visit to Corfu by Henry Miller, during his Greece excursion in 1939.

The person playing Henry Miller is a little-known Canadian actor named Mark Caven [at left]. Not having seen this production yet, I can't comment on his abilities to play Henry, but the look isn't half bad (see my old posting on casting Henry Miller). I imagine his screen time is pretty short. It will portray Henry and other writer friends as eccentric bohemians causing "mayhem" at the Durrell's Corfu villa; this includes a scene in which Henry is shown typing in the nude (according to a review on catholic.org).

Gerald Durrell's connection to Henry comes, of course, through his old brother Lawrence. A poem of Gerald's was printed in The Booster in 1937 when he was just 11 years old.

My Family And Other Animals was turned into a TV series in 1987, but doesn't appear to have featured Henry Miller. This new BBC version aired on the Beeb on December 27th last year. But, North American audiences may watch it on April 9, 2006, as a Masterpiece Theatre presentation on PBS. Check your local listings.

Gerald Durrell and actor Eugene Simon.

Lawrence Durrell and actor Matthew Goode.

Miller-less video clips of My Family may be viewed on the PBS website and on the BBC website .

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