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Monday, March 23, 2020 5:10am ET by  

Interview with Danya Griver who plays Gwen in Enid Bylton's Malory Towers

Tell us about your character.
She is mean, selfish, manipulative and vain, yet vulnerable, insecure and funny without even knowing it. Gwen is a brilliant part to play.

How do other people see Gwen?
I think people see Gwen as a spoilt entitled nuisance, yet she is a great source of drama, and the rest of the girls enjoy bonding over her ridiculous antics.

Describe the relationship between Darrell and Gwen.
The relationship is very complicated, as at the beginning Gwen is keen to be Darrell’s best friend, and when it doesn't go quite to plan she learns some hard lessons and tensions between the two arise. Gwen does admire Darrell but resents her popularity.

How does the relationship develop?
As the relationship develops tensions, arguments and evil plans make Gwen and Darrell arch rivals.

Why does Gwen behave the way she does?
Gwen is an only child and had never been to school before she joins Malory Towers. She has always been the centre of attention at home and never had to try too hard to get exactly what she wants. She hasn't really interacted with people her own age before and has had no real experience in making friends.

Gwen is often angry, why is this?
I think Gwen feels angry because she is a bit scared and finds it hard to mix with the other girls, which often makes her the outsider. Joining Malory Towers is really quite a struggle for her as she doesn't know how to be a proper friend, she isn't used to traditional school lessons and struggles with her studies.

How did you feel when you got the part?
I was totally delighted and, honestly, when my parents first told me I just couldn't believe it! I laughed, cried and then I was just stunned for a bit!! It certainly took a few days to sink in!

What was it like playing such an iconic role?
Playing Gwendoline Mary Lacey is an honour and I feel very lucky to have been chosen to bring her to life!! I know a lot of people will have their own vision of her from reading the books and I really hope that I do her justice.

Were you a fan of Enid Blyton before and what do you like about her books?
I have read a lot of Enid Blyton stories and all the of Malory Towers books. They have been read by my Mum, Grandma, great Grandma and most of my friends. I think that the books are really special and once you start them they are hard to put down!

Do you think themes of friendship and growing up are relevant for girls/young people today and why?
The Malory Towers books cover subjects that stand the test of time even though my Great Grandma read them 70 years ago - subjects like friendship issues, learning to do the right thing and growing-up problems are timeless!

Was it cold swimming and filming in the rock pool?
It was pretty cold!! And really quite hard not to shiver when it was your time to say a line. As soon as we got out we were wrapped up in giant duvet coats that were heaven!!

How do you reflect back on making the drama?
Looking back on my Malory towers experience I can say, with all my heart, I will never forget the fun friendship and happiness I have had. I learnt so much from very kind, talented people and am very grateful to be part of it.

Why should people watch the series?
I think people should watch the series because the Malory Towers stories are all there and the writers Sasha and Rachel have also added some really brilliant new parts that blend so well that I had to check in the books to remind myself if they were originally there from the beginning or not!

Even if you think you know the story of Malory Towers, this series has a lot of new surprises as well as the wonderful original stories.

The full series is available on BBC iPlayer from Monday 23 March

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