Hayden Panettiere is to play Amanda Knox, an American student convicted of killing her British housemate, in a TV movie, the BBC said.

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Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison last December for murder and sexual violence in Italy in connection with the 2007 death of Meredith Kercher.

Knox has denied the allegations and is appealing the verdict.

The BBC said Panettiere, who is best known for her work on the science-fiction series "Heroes," will play Knox in a Lifetime television movie to air next year.