Keegan Baker looks set to seek revenge on the gang who attacked him in upcoming episodes of EastEnders as he struggles to cope in the wake of his traumatic knifing. But will he really get vengeance or can Carmel talk him out of his plan? Here’s actor Zack Morris with all the details of the drama that lies ahead:
How has Keegan been feeling since Shakil’s death? He’s very upset and angry and I think he’s feeling very distant. He’s confused about what happened and how people can just be moving on. He’s very angry and frustrated.
Does he blame himself for what happened? Yeah, he blames himself and also Mick. When Mick found Keegan, he was trying to say Shakil’s name to Mick but Mick didn’t realise. In Keegan’s mind, if Mick had heard him the outcome might have been different. But there is definitely a bit of remorse from Keegan. When he was in the hospital he said that if he didn’t nick the bike, Shakil would still be alive. It isn’t fair and he blames himself and Mick.
How is it between him and Carmel? It’s always been a bit of a weird one with Carmel and Keegan because she’s never really liked him. You’d think this would give her a reason to hate him even more, but we actually see them interact a lot over the next few weeks. There’s definitely a clash there, as there always has been, but Keegan was Shakil’s best friend and she wants to know he’s OK.
Are we going to see a different Keegan from this point? Yes. He’s not very good at showing emotion and keeps things under wraps. For Keegan it just bubbles up until he’s about to erupt. It’s like what happened when Mitch left – there was a build-up of emotion and he lashed out. So he’s a lot more emotional, there’s a lot less bravado and front. It’s not something you can just move on from.
What’s it been like playing that other side to Keegan that we haven’t really seen before? It’s been interesting – every time we get a new storyline there are new things to work at and find out about your character. You have to put yourself in that person’s shoes and with a storyline like this, that’s going to be hard but as an actor, it’s a privilege to be doing this storyline.
What’s it been like working more closely with Bonnie Langford? Bonnie’s great – both as an actress and a person. She’s a legend. It’s been nice to work so closely with new people. I’ve worked with Bonnie before but we haven’t had in-depth scenes together.
What advice would you give Keegan? Think before you act. I think that’s the main thing and it’s not just for Keegan, it’s for everyone. I feel like with this storyline it shows how these things can happen over something so petty. It’s not that we did it to the extreme, this is what is happening in real life. Keegan needs to realise that every action has a consequence, so think before you act.
How did you feel when you found out it you would be involved in this storyline? I felt privileged. I was just doing my bit in the show and then to get trusted with this storyline that I hope is going to have a big impact on people is a privilege. I felt like I had a responsibility to do it justice because it’s such a prominent issue. So to be trusted with a storyline like this is a privilege and it’s humbling.
How did you approach it – did you do any research? I did some research online and watched some documentaries. The show has also been working with Brooke Kinsella and the Ben Kinsella Trust and they’ve have been really helpful with research. As an actor, you want to be as realistic as possible.
Do you feel a responsibility with this storyline? Yes, it’s the nature of what comes with the show and a storyline like this. I feel like after it all goes out, even if it can stop just one person carrying a knife then we have done our job. There is a responsibility and that’s not just me, that’s the show in general. As a collective we’ve all got responsibility to try and raise awareness.
Why is EastEnders a good platform for doing this storyline? Because all ages watch it, kids, adults, mums and dads – so many people watch it. I watched EastEnders growing up but I didn’t realise how vast the audience is until I was in it. Even the recognition that I get on the street just shows how many people watch it. So there are loads and loads of people are going to watch the show and hopefully it will really hit home for people and make them realise that this is what’s going on.
The storyline focuses on the families and the aftermath of what that blade can do – you’re taking a life but you’re also taking the lives of their friends his family. So I believe highlighting it is very important – now more than ever.
Are you going to keep in touch with Shaheen Jafargholi? Yeah I was speaking to him yesterday and we speak all the time. Shaheen is such a nice guy it’s good to surround yourself with like-minded people. He’s kind, caring and he would do anything for anyone, so yeah, he’s a friend for life.
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