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Former Kent pupil starring in TV drama

Budding starlet - Ellie Kendrick, starring in a Maidstone production of Much Ado in 2003
Budding starlet - Ellie Kendrick, starring in a Maidstone production of Much Ado in 2003

A former Kent schoolpupil is starring in a BBC Drama series about Anne Frank this week.

Ellie Kendrick, 18, who attended Benenden School in Cranbrook, will play the lead role of Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank.

The programme is being aired from 7-7.30pm every day this week on BBC One.

The diaries of the girl who was forced into hiding with her family for two years to avoid persecution from the Nazis have been read by millions around the world.

Ellie confessed she hadn't read them though until she got the role.

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

"Perhaps that's one of the reasons why 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 re-working something that I'd read a hundred times.

“As soon as I started reading it, I was really hooked. I'd never realised how fascinating Anne's accounts of her life were.”

Ellie, who left Benenden just last summer, said taking up the role meant so much to her.

"Anne is this fascinating combination of immature teenager and deeply contemplative, inspiring thinker. 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. That's something 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."

Anne Frank started to write her diary on her 13th birthday in June 1942, just two weeks before she and her family were forced to go into hiding in Nazi occupied Holland.

After two years the group were betrayed and transported to concentration camps. Seven months later in March 1945 Anne Frank died of hunger and typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Claire Oulton, Benenden Headmistress, said:

“We have been treated to a number of superb performances at Benenden by Ellie over the last few years. We’re delighted at her success and are very proud of her.”

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