There can't be many people who haven't heard of the story of Anne Frank. The 13 year old girl from a Jewish family who, to avoid evacuation from Holland by the Nazis, hid with her family in the rooms above her fathers business for 2 years before being caught. The diary she kept during this period was published after the war and has since been translated into a number of languages and has become the most widely read piece of non-fiction apart from the Bible.
The rights to the story are rarely available and it's pleasing that this new production transmitted on the BBC over five half-hour episodes on consecutive nights is a great example of quality, thought provoking and moving television that should be enjoyed by all.
Ellie Kendrick stars as Anne, the teenage daughter of Otto (Iain Glen) and Edith Frank (Tamsin Greig). In her diaries Anne comes across as a precocious teenager, sometimes impertinent and always with something to say regardless of other peoples feelings and Ellie Kendrick's performance captures this perfectly. She is a teenager after all and we get to know all her growing pains through her diary entries. Iain Glen is the solid and almost perfect father and is amiably assisted by Tamsin Grieg as a quiet and dependable mother. The supporting cast including Lesley Sharp, Ron Cook and Geoff Bretton as the Van Daans are all exceptional, particularly Lesley Sharp whose performance as the selfish and head strong Petronella was always entertaining. The production values were first rate and the recreation of the rooms where the families lived really made you appreciated how claustrophobic, stressful, and monotonous their daily lives must have been. As the series concludes and you get more and more attached to these characters the sudden discovery of the secret annex by the police is well handled and very emotional.
A very strong series that is never preachy or over-dramatic and which I hope is transmitted in as many countries as possible. Highly enjoyable and recommended.
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