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ITV under fire for ‘making gay character straight’ in The Durrells book adaptation

Nick Duffy April 26, 2016

An ITV drama adaptation has attracted criticism – after a gay character was turned straight.

‘The Durrells’ show is based on Gerald Durrell’s semi-autobiographical novels, which deals with his childhood growing up in Corfu.

The book was adapted for TV by Simon Nye, featuring Keeley Hawes in the lead role.

But one minor gay character from the books has been given a surprising shake-up for the show… in which they are straight and played by Ulric von der Esch.

In the original novel, Sven laments: “She’s so beautiful, in fact, it almost makes me wish I weren’t a homosexual.”

But the show sees the pair embarking on a romance, kissing passionately during Sunday’s episode.

The change led many fans to complain of “straightwashing” – turning a gay character straight to make them more acceptable.

Ms Hawes told What’s On TV: “I’m absolutely fine with the changes – they liven things up a bit.

“They’re also completely necessary because some things simply wouldn’t translate from the books to a TV show.”

An ITV spokesperson told the Sun: “The series is loosely based on Gerald Durrell’s books and is not intended to be true to life.

“Characters originally included have been adapted and new characters have been created.

“We’ve been thrilled with the response from viewers.”

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