Girl’s intimate moments
Her diary is so open, chatty and familiar you feel as if the heroine is speaking directly to you
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.