Girl’s in­ti­mate mo­ments

Her di­ary is so open, chatty and fa­mil­iar you feel as if the heroine is speak­ing di­rectly to you

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - THE GUIDE SEVEN DAYS TV -

THE DI­ARY OF ANNE FRANK is told from the per­spec­tive of a teenage Jewish girl and gives an ac­count of life in hid­ing in Nazioc­cu­pied Hol­land dur­ing World War II.

Full of ten­sion, but at times funny and ul­ti­mately tragic, Anne Frank’s di­ary man­ages to cre­ate a truth­ful and time­less pic­ture of do­mes­tic life un­der ex­traor­di­nary cir­cum­stances, while never let­ting us for­get the ter­ri­ble dan­ger that awaits Anne and her fam­ily if they are dis­cov­ered.

Anne Frank started writ­ing her di­ary on her 13th birth­day in June 1942, just two weeks be­fore she and her fam­ily were forced to go into hid­ing in an an­nex in her fa­ther’s spice ware­house. The Franks are soon joined there by an­other fam­ily, Her­mann and Petronella van Daan, and their teenage son, Peter.

Anne treats her di­ary as a friend, con­fid­ing to it the de­tails of life in hid­ing and her feel­ings about her com­pan­ions.

Writ­ten from the cramped con­di­tions of the an­nex, Anne’s feisty ac­count of her life over a two-year pe­riod has be­come one of the most widely read pieces of non-fic­tion in the world.

The Di­ary of Anne Frank pre­mieres as part of a week of pro­grammes com­mem­o­rat­ing the 70th an­niver­sary of the start of World War II.

The drama stars El­lie Ken­drick (Anne Frank), Iain Glen (Otto Frank), Tam­sin Greig (Edith Frank), Fe­lic­ity Jones ( Mar­got Frank), Kate Ash­field (Miep Gies), Ron Cook (Her­mann van Daan), Les­ley Sharp (Petronella van Daan), Ge­off Bre­ton (Peter van Daan) and Ni­co­las Far­rell (Al­bert Dus­sel).

The Di­ary of Anne Frank

has been adapted by Deborah Mog­gach and is a Dar­low Smith­son pro­duc­tion for the BBC. The se­ries has been di­rected by Jon Jones and pro­duced by Eli­nor Day.

El­lie Ken­drick, the young ac­tress who plays the role of Anne, de­scribes what it meant to her to play the part.

“Anne is this fas­ci­nat­ing com­bi­na­tion of im­ma­ture teenager and deeply con­tem­pla­tive, in­spir­ing thinker – and she had such con­stant, un­fail­ing hope.

“There’s a real wit and verve that comes across in her di­aries in the face of all her hard­ship, which no reader can help but like. That’s some­thing that I think has been re­flected re­ally well in the scripts; there’s a play­ful­ness and vi­vac­ity to each episode in spite of that crush­ing sense of claus­tro­pho­bia which must have been al­most un­en­durable.”

Eigh­teen-year-old El­lie was 17 when she filmed the se­ries but feels she could have been friends with Anne. “I think most teenage girls would love to be friends with the Anne Frank that we get to know in the di­aries and, hope­fully, in the se­ries.

“…Girls from about 11 to 17 can re­ally iden­tify with her as a per­son be­cause, at the bot­tom of it, she was just an or­di­nary teenage girl go­ing through ex­traor­di­nary events.

“Say­ing that, Anne Frank was much more of a girly teenager than I am. Even when she was in hid­ing, she man­i­cured her nails and curled her hair al­most ev­ery day. I just roll out of bed in a state.”

Mil­lions of peo­ple around the world have read Anne’s di­ary, but El­lie con­fesses that she hadn’t un­til she got the role.

“Fun­nily enough, I had never read it be­fore I got the part. I find that odd be­cause al­most ev­ery teenage girl has done, at least once.

“Per­haps that’s one of the rea­sons it worked for me. I was able to look at the di­aries in a new way be­cause they were fresh to me, as op­posed to re­work­ing some­thing that I had read a hun­dred times.

“But as soon as I started read­ing it, I was hooked. I’d never re­alised how fas­ci­nat­ing Anne’s ac­counts of her life were; it’s amaz­ing how en­gross­ing she man­ages to make the te­dium of an­nex life.

“Some­thing that struck me was how lit­tle things have re­ally changed since her life­time: we girls still have spats with our fam­i­lies, worry if we’re pretty or not, be­come some­what dan­ger­ously fix­ated on boys, and have a ten­dency to fly off the han­dle just like Anne.”

El­lie thinks that Anne would have en­joyed all the at­ten­tion the di­ary has gen­er­ated since it was first pub­lished.

“I ex­pect she would have en­joyed the at­ten­tion. But I don’t think even she could have an­tic­i­pated how enor­mously suc­cess­ful her story would be. Per­haps she’d be a lit­tle em­bar­rassed be­cause the di­ary is so pri­vate. Then again, even in her life­time Anne wrote that she longed to be­come an au­thor and have her di­ary pub­lished. So I’m sure she’d be thrilled. I think she would have been as­ton­ished that so many peo­ple were in­ter­ested in her life.” – TV Re­porter

The Di­ary Of Anne Frank (five episodes) from Mon­day, Au­gust 21, at 9pm on BBC Knowl­edge.

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