Anthony Walker drama has a huge, harrowing impact on BBC One viewers

The unusual structure of the BBC One drama has been applauded by viewers.

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Toheeb Jimoh and Julia Brown in Anthony

Anthony, the BBC One drama about the racist murder of 18-year-old black student Anthony Walker in Liverpool in 2005, has generated an outpouring of emotion on social media.

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Anthony Walker was killed in an unprovoked attack with an ice axe by Michael Barton and Paul Taylor when he was walking his girlfriend Louise Thompson and a friend to a bus stop in Huyton. The killers fled the scene to Amsterdam, but returned and admitted to the crime four days later.

Anthony writer Jimmy McGovern (Hillsborough, The Street), renowned for his emotional dramas often set in Merseyside, created a series of fantasy sequences which imagined the life aspiring-lawyer Anthony (portrayed by Toheeb Jimoh) could have led if it hadn’t been cut short so viciously.

It was an audacious way of dramatising the harrowing story, but for most viewers it was a success.

Many viewers were moved to draw the parallel between 2005 and recent events. One man applauded “the BBC for not pulling punches with this narrative”.

Even though most watching Anthony, which is released on DVD on 3rd August, knew exactly what was to befall the teenager, nothing prepared them for the impact of watching his murder. One man commented that “gut wrenching is an understatement”.

Another wrote: “Amazing performances and character portrayal of a life that could have and should have been. In telling the story we learn, there’s no place for hate …”

Anthony’s mother Gee came in for special tributes from viewers. One wrote: “I hope Gee Walker is OK if she’s watching this version of what could have been”.

Gee has spoken about the drama and why she became involved: “If it can turn around one or two lives it would do so much, and it will honour #Anthony.”

The drama wasn’t completely without its lighter moments. McGovern imagined one fantasy scenario where Anthony proposed to Louise on an episode of BBC One game show Pointless. Some thought it was a “beautiful touch”.

Twitter user @Cathsfx summed up the mood on social media – the drama “did Anthony and his family proud”.

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Pre-order the Anthony DVD from Amazon now. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.