A Small Light — cast, plot, first look and all about the moving war drama on those who tried to protect Anne Frank

A Small Light on Disney Plus follows the true wartime story of protecting Anne Frank and her family.
A Small Light on Disney Plus follows the true wartime story of protecting Anne Frank and her family. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

A Small Light on Disney Plus sheds light on a remarkable yet little known story during World War Two. The tragic story of Anne Frank and her family is known worldwide but this new series, starring Bel Powley, Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson and Peaky Blinders’ Joe Cole, shines a light on the brave couple who tried to protect them from the Nazis in Amsterdam. 

A Small Light follows secretary Miep Gies (Bel Powley) and her husband Jan (Joe Cole) who were asked by Miep’s boss Otto Frank (Liev Schreiber) to hide him and his family from the Nazis during World War Two. The Franks shared a tiny attic with the van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer and were watched over by the Gieses and several other everyday heroes. Miep was the one who found Anne’s diary and preserved it so she and Otto could later share it with the world yet she refused to be labelled a hero, later saying, “I don’t like being called a hero because no one should ever think you have to be special to help others. Even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can turn on a small light in a dark room.” 

Here’s everything you need to know about the compelling series A Small Light

A Small Light release date

A Small Light is an eight-part series that will launch on Disney Plus in 2023 under National Geographic section on there. We will update here as soon as we find out when.

Is there a trailer for A Small Light?

No trailer has been released for A Small Light jsut yet, so we'll be looking out for one and posting here when it arrives.

A Small Light plot 

A Small Light follows 20-something Dutch secretary Miep Gies who in 1942 was asked by her boss, Anne’s father Otto, to hide him and his family from the Nazis who were transporting Jews to concentration camps. Miep didn’t hesitate and along with some of Otto’s other employees, looked after the eight people cramped into the secret annex rooms above Otto’s business premises in Amsterdam. After the families were betrayed and discovered by the Nazis on August 4 1944, following 25 months of hiding, Miep found Anne’s diary and kept it safe for her. When she learned about Anne’s death in the holocaust, Miep gave the papers to Otto who had been liberated from Auschwitz. The diary was then published around the world.

Reflecting on the Hanukkah holiday’s themes of resistance, resilience and courage, the first look picture from A Small Light (see main picture above) shows Miep and Jan Gies, the Frank family, the van Pels family, and Fritz Pfeffer in a scene from the show in which they gather to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights while hidden in the secret annex.

A Small Light cast — Bel Powley as Miep Gies

Bel Powley plays reluctant hero Miep who helped hide and provide food for eight Jews hiding from the Nazis. 

Bel has previously starred as Claire Conway on The Morning Show and Birdy in Everything I Know About Love. Bel has also appeared in The King of Staten Island, Informer, Mary Shelley, Benidorm, M.I. High and voices Little My in the animated series Moominvalley

Bel Powley stars as as Miep Gies.

Bel Powley stars as as Miep Gies. (Image credit: Getty)

Joe Cole plays Jan Gies 

Joe Cole is starring in A Small Light as Miep’s husband Jan. 

Joe previously played John Shelby in Peaky Blinders, Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File and Sean Wallace in Gangs of London. He’s also starred in Netflix movie Against the Ice, Pure, and Black Mirror

Joe Cole as Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File.

Joe Cole as Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File. (Image credit: ALTITUDE FILM FOR ITV)

Liev Schreiber plays Otto Frank

In A Small Light, Liev Schreiber is playing Otto Frank, the father of Dutch teenager Anne Frank. 

Liev is well known for playing Ray Donovan in the series of the same name and starred in The Manchurian Candidate, The Omen, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Salt and Don’t Look Up. He narrates the TV series Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Detroit Lions and Inside the Manson Cult: The Lost Tapes.  

Liev Shrieber.

Liev Shrieber is playing Otto Frank in A Small Light. (Image credit: Getty)

Who else is starring in A Small Light? 

There's a large all-star cast in A Small Light. Billie Boullet (The Worst Witch) plays teenager Anne Frank while Amira Casar (Call Me By Your Name) is her mother Edith and Ashley Brooke (New Amsterdam) is her sister Margot. Poldark star Eleanor Tomlinson is Miep’s best friend Tess, Andy Nyman (The Capture) is Hermann van Pels, Caroline Catz (Doc Martin) is Auguste van Pels and Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones) is Dr Fritz Pfeffer. Sally Messham (Doc Martin) is secretary Bep Voskuijl.

Ian McElhinney plays Johannes Kleiman, Nicholas Burns (Benidorm) is Victor Kugler, who areMiep’s coworkers. Liza Sadovy is Mrs Stoppelman, Laurie Kynaston is Casmir, and Sebastian Armesto plays Max Stoppelman.

What to watch after Poldark.

Eleanor Tomlinson with Aidan Turner in Poldark. (Image credit: BBC)

Doc Martin Season 10, with Martin, Louisa and the kids.

Caroline Catz with Martin Clunes in Doc Martin. (Image credit: ITV)

More about A Small Light

A Small Light is produced by ABC Signature in partnership with Keshet Studios for National Geographic. Executive producers and writers Joan Rater and Tony Phelan (Grey’s Anatomy, Council of Dads) serve as showrunners, and DGA award-winner and Emmy-nominated executive producer Susanna Fogel (The Flight Attendant, Cat Person) directs many episodes including the first. The executive producers are Peter Traugott and Lisa Roos for Keshet Studios, Alon Shtruzman for Keshet International and Avi Nir for Keshet Media Group.

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.