The series, written by Michael J. Bird, dealt with the lives of various British expats living on the island of Crete and their reasons for being there. The central characters were a married couple, Erik (Ian Hendry) and Ann Shepherd (Wanda Ventham) who ran a tavern called “Shepherd’s Bar”.
In the first episode, Ann was revealed to be a “sleeper agent” of British Intelligence with Erik having been a broken down drunk whom she was made to marry as part of her cover story. A clash with Soviet and Chinese agents resulted in both of them having to leave Crete. In the final scene on a plane leaving Heraklion airport, they have a partial reconciliation, since each is the only person the other can trust.
The Lotus Eaters was filmed in the Cretan resort of Aghios Nikolaos and derived its title from the Lotus Eaters of Greek mythology, where those who ate the fruit of the Lotus tree lost the desire to return home.
The series was also the first of the Mediterranean based dramas written by Michael J. Bird for the BBC. The others included Who Pays the Ferryman?, also set in Crete, The Aphrodite Inheritance set in Cyprus and The Dark Side of the Sun set in Rhodes.