EastEnders: Shakil’s funeral to feature real-life accounts of knife crime

The BBC1 soap will break with its usual format in scenes to be shown next month

EastEnders - Shakil Kazemi

EastEnders will blend fact with fiction in an upcoming episode when true-life accounts from those who have lost someone to knife crime will be heard during the funeral of Shakil Kazemi. The Walford teen was stabbed to death last month and mum Carmel (Bonnie Langford) has since been seen campaigning to get knives off the streets in the wake of her son’s tragic demise.

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Now, the soap’s executive consultant John Yorke will use the testimonies gathered while researching the storyline when Shakil’s funeral is screened next month. Said Yorke tonight:

“From the very beginning we were determined to treat the difficult subject of knife crime in a responsible, non-sensationalist way.  We started out with detailed research, and the more stories we heard the more we felt other people should hear them too.

“The episode gradually evolved into something unique for EastEnders – real families telling their own devastating stories alongside our own characters.

“We’ve tried to find a way to do justice to an incredibly difficult, tragic and emotive subject, and with huge help from the families of real life victims and the support groups they work with, we hope we’ve come some way to getting that enormity across.”

The BBC1 episode of EastEnders will be accompanied by short films that will be made available online on BBC Three which will delve deeper into the issues associated with the subject of knife crime.

EastEnders - Iconic

Damian Kavanagh Controller, BBC Three commented: “BBC Three has a strong track record of handling issues relevant to young people in a sensitive way.

“We’re pleased that we’re able to collaborate with EastEnders to produce additional material to support this storyline that will allow both the BBC Three and EastEnders audience gain a deeper engagement with an important subject.”

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