To Nisi

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To Nisi
To Nisi Title Card.png
Title screen shot
Το Νησί
GenreDrama, mystery
Written by Victoria Hislop
Mirella Papaeconomou
Directed byTheodoris Papadoulakis
Ending theme"Ise Esi O Anthropos Mou" by Andriana Babali,
"Mavri Petalouda" by Yannis Haroulis
ComposerMinos Matsas
Country of originGreece
Original languageGreek
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes26 (list of episodes)
ProducerNino Elmatzioglou
Production locations Crete, Greece
CinematographyVaggelis Katrizidakis
Production companiesTVE S.A., Indigo View
Original network Mega Channel
Original release11 October 2010 (2010-10-11) 
23 May 2011 (2011-05-23)

To Nisi (Greek: Το Νησί; English: The Island) is a Greek television series based on the best-selling English novel The Island by Victoria Hislop airing on Mega Channel. The series premiered on 11 October 2010 to record ratings and critical acclaim. It is the most expensive Greek television production ever with a budget of €4 million.




The series is one of the most expensive television shows in Greek television history with a budget of €4 million. [1] [2] The Island author Victoria Hislop had previously received offers from Hollywood as high as £300,000 for the movie rights to the novel, although she opted instead to grant the rights to Mega Channel for a fraction of the price in return for some artistic control. [3]

Initial thoughts by Mega Channel were to make a film out of the novel, but they finally decided upon a 26 episode television series instead. [2] Mirella Papaeconomou primarily took on the script's adaptation, and with Hislop's permission added stories and characters that do not exist in the novel to make the series long enough for a full season. [2] Hislop actively participated in the entire process with ideas, suggestions, and observations. [2] Thodoris Papadoulakis undertook the direction of the series. [4]


Some filming of scenes took place at the port of Plaka for authenticity. Plaka (Lassithi).jpg
Some filming of scenes took place at the port of Plaka for authenticity.

The direction of photography was undertaken by Vaggelis Katrizidakis. [4] Cretan director Thodoris Papadoulakis convinced Mega Channel to keep Athens out of the filming by having the entire series shot on location in Crete, arguing that Spinalonga recreates a natural setting. [2] Filming began in December 2009 and concluded in December 2010, primarily taking place in Plaka, Spinalonga, upper Elounda, and Agios Nikolaos. [2] [4]

Sets portraying the villages from 1939 to 1957 were designed by stage director Antonis Halkias and his colleagues. [4] For authenticity purposes, as many scenes as possible were shot on location in Plaka and Spinalonga, including scenes of the port where the boat from the small fishing village of Plaka arrives, as well as the market streets. [2] Shooting for many of the segments in Old Plaka took place in constructed sets resembling the old village in upper Elounda. [2]

Costuming and music


Much of the series is based on the old leper colony on the island of Spinalonga in Crete, Greece. 20100820 Spinalonga island Crete Panorama.jpg
Much of the series is based on the old leper colony on the island of Spinalonga in Crete, Greece.

Based on the novel The Island by Victoria Hislop, the series takes place on the island of Spinalonga, off the coast of Crete, and in the village of Plaka which lies within swimming distance across it. To Nisi tells the story of Alexis Fielding, a woman on the cusp of a life-changing decision. Alexis knows little about her family's past and has always resented her mother for refusing to discuss it. She knows only that her mother, Sofia, grew up in Plaka, a small Cretan village, before moving to London, England. Making her first visit to Crete to see the village where her mother was born, Alexis discovers that the village of Plaka faces the small, now deserted island of Spinalonga, which she is surprised to learn was Greece's leper colony for much of the 20th century. At Plaka, Alexis meets an old friend of her mother's, Fotini, who is prepared to tell her the entire tragic story of her family that Sofia has spent her life concealingthe story of Eleni, her grandmother, and of a family torn apart by war and passion. Alexis discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, along with the horror and pity of the leper colony which was once there.

Cast and characters

There are more than 120 roles in the series, with more than 500 supporting actors. [2]

Main characters


International syndication

CountryTV network(s)Notes
Flag of Albania.svg Albania AS TV Premiered on 12 December 2012
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Bosnia and Herzegovina TV1 Premiered on 15 October 2011
Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia RTL Televizija Premiered on 1 January 2012
Flag of Cyprus.svg Cyprus Mega Channel Cyprus Premiered on 11 October 2010
Flag of Serbia.svg Serbia RTV Pink Premiered on 27 February 2012
Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey ATV Premiered in December 2011
Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary Duna TV Premiere on 6 July 2014
Flag of Romania.svg Romania
Flag of Finland.svg Finland YLE Teema Premiered on 10 December 2013
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom

Impact and reception


Upon its premiere, To Nisi set record ratings for a series with an estimated 3.88 million total viewers tuning in, or 34.9% of the viewing population in Greece. [5] [6] [7] The share rating amounted to 61.7%, meaning approximately six out of every ten viewers watching television at the time were tuned into To Nisi, [8] while also receiving 72.8% share rating in the coveted 1544 age group. [9] The premiere beat the previous total viewers record of 34.6% set in 1998 by Mega Channel's series Psithiroi Kardias. [10] [11] Upon the airing of the second episode, To Nisi beat its own record, receiving an estimated 4.02 million total viewers, or 36.2%. [12] [13]

Critical reception

Critical reception of the television series was highly positive. During a pre-screening for the press at Athens Concert Hall, the show received critical acclaim. The series was also reportedly being eyed by foreign networks. [1]

Popi Diamantakou of Ta Nea stated that the work of the director and the actors exceeded expectations. [8] Marianna Tziantzi of Kathimerini asserted that the astronomical ratings received for the first episode prove that the series will be the television phenomenon of the year; a title well deserved as it is artistically ambitious during a period of subpar television productions on air. [14] She added that the book- and the television series as an extension- provide an unintentional allegory of our time; speaking of love in a time of crisis and social exclusion. [14] Also commenting on its record viewership and differentiation qualities, Marina Petroutsou of Eleftherotypia pointed out that the public eagerly awaited a quality production, as the networks have been using the economic crisis as an excuse for low quality programs. [15] She also noted that the day after the premiere, many daytime shows covered the series, leading her to believe that it was seen as a means to boost their own ratings. [15] Afroditi Grammeli of To Vima observed that from the first minutes of the series on air, a flow of commentary praising the series broke out across the internet, notably through the creation of three social networking groups on Facebook that accepted thousands of members within the time frame of the premiere. [16] Praise was given for its touching and atmospheric shots, solid acting, exceptional direction, and stunning stage design. [16] Contrastingly, Grammeli also regarded that the mass praise did not come without negative criticism by a minority, who found the series depressing, slow, old fashioned, and overly dramatic. [16]

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  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2008-11-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  15. 1 2 Petroutsou, Marina (October 13, 2010). Ζαπ Ζαπ (in Greek). Eleftherotypia . Retrieved October 13, 2010.
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