Zack Morris felt "emotionally drained" filming Shakil Kazemi's "hard-hitting" funeral episode on 'EastEnders' because the plot was so "real".

Zack Morris

Zack Morris

The 19-year-old star - who plays Keegan Baker on the BBC One soap - was exhausted at the end of the day shooting the tough scenes in which his alter-ego's best mate Shakil (Shaheen Jafargholi) was laid to rest, after he was stabbed to death.

Relatives of real-life knife crime victims also appeared in the funeral episode, and Zack admits their presence brought the story to life even more.

Speaking at the TV Choice Awards at London's Dorchester Hotel on Monday night (10.09.18), he exclusively told BANG Showbiz: "It was emotionally draining. It was tough to film, forget the long hours, it was hard to film because it's dealing with a real issue.

"It's not far-fetched, we're not filming sci-fi, it's reality.

"The funeral and working with the families who had lost kids themselves was very, very, very hard-hitting. I remember finishing the day filming and I just felt drained, I just literally felt emotionally drained.

"You can only bring so much, but they are really experiencing it. That's the weird fine line between it. It was a weird thing to do.

"The reception we got was great and for me, as an actor, that's all I can ask for really."

Since the tough funeral episode aired, Zack has been inundated with viewers approaching him to speak about the storyline, and he is pleased to see the real-life effects of the plot when he is out and about.

He added: "When I walk down the street they feel like they know us and our characters. It's nice that people feel they can talk to me about it.

"I've had a good few people talk to me and confide in me about the situations. It's a nice thing to have as an actor."