EastEnders will be changing their fictional set-up in a groundbreaking future episode, when they allow real-life accounts of knife crime to be brought to the soap. Mixed in with the fictional story of Shakil Kazemi (Shaheen Jafargholi), who was murdered with a knife, an upcoming instalment of the BBC One drama will centre around Shakil’s funeral, and allow viewers a look into the trauma brought on by the UK’s knife crime epidemic.
Executive consultant on EastEnders, John Yorke said of the decision: “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 BBC’s dedication to shining a light on knife crime will spread to BBC Three, with the online media outlet producing a number of short films giving viewers further insight into some of the families involved with the special episode of EastEnders. Written features will also go live on BBC Three’s social platforms and websites.
Damian Kavanagh, controller at BBC Three 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 [to] gain a deeper engagement with an important story.”
EastEnders continues throughout the week on BBC One.
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