EastEnders to include real-life testimonials about knife crime in special Shakil memorial episode
Eastenders will insert real-life knife crime testimonials into its upcoming Shakil Kazemi funeral episode, breaking with its traditional format.
Shakil, played by Shaheen Jafargholi, tragically died last month after being the victim of violent knife crime. The story was heavily researched and inspired by several real-life crimes, some of which will be shared in Shakil’s funeral episode.
Eastenders exec John Yorke said: “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.”
Viewers moved by the real-life stories will have the opportunity to learn more about those featured in the episode with a series of short films available on BBC Three.
BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh said: “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.”