EastEnders star Davood Ghadami has given his thoughts on the surge in knife crime across the UK. Scenes to be shown on the BBC1 soap this Friday will see his character Kush bury brother Shakil following a fatal stabbing. Asked at a screening of the episode as to why teenagers felt compelled to carry knives, the actor said:
“It’s very difficult, but there has to be a way to connect with young people to find out why. There’s obviously a lack of respect for life if you could take it so easily. Maybe people don’t see their own lives as important, so we need to look into that.
“Maybe there’s a cultural problem in big cities where your identity is to carry a knife. And if everyone else is doing it, then why can’t I? But this has to be put back to the grassroots – we at EastEnders can’t claim that this episode is going to suddenly change everything. And I don’t think there’s a single answer to it. But the more it’s highlighted, the more people will ask this question. So hopefully we will get an answer.”
Statistics published earlier this week by the Met Police revealed that there have been 1,296 stabbings in London up to the end of April, with 51 proving to be fatal. Knifings in the capital are now at their highest level in six years, with a 23 per cent rise on the previous year.
This Friday’s episode of EastEnders will see Shakil’s funeral accompanied by testimonies from real-life families whose lives have been affected by knife, a move that Ghadami’s co-star Bonnie Langford (Carmel Kazemi) hopes will provoke discussion.
“We’re not being preachy,” said the actress. “But the thing about EastEnders is that a lot of families watch it together. So you’ve got a range of ages. And it’d be nice to think that perhaps those different ages will be able to step into other people’s shoes and think, ‘maybe I need to approach things in a different way.'”
Added Ghadami: “If it starts a conversation in the living room, then hopefully it’ll make people think twice about picking up a knife before they go out. What people see on TV does have the power to do that.”
Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.