EastEnders to air real life accounts of knife crime during Shakil’s funeral

In a first for a British soap, relatives of knife crime victims will open up about their own harrowing experiences on EastEnders.

Their real life stories will be aired as they appear with the soap’s characters at Shakil Kazemi’s funeral.

The BBC soap’s boss, John Yorke, said that they had been determined to address the subject of knife crime in a "non-sensationalist" way.

"From the very beginning we were determined to treat the difficult subject of knife crime in a responsible, non-sensationalist way," he said. "We started out with detailed research, and the more stories we heard, the more we felt other people should hear them too.

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"The episode gradually evolved into something unique for EastEnders —real families telling their own devastating stories alongside our own characters."

The relatives appearing in the episode have not yet been named by producers.

Shakil, played by former Britain’s Got Talent star Shaheen Jafargholi, was murdered in a horrifying gang attack last month.


The storyline was developed with the help of former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, 34, whose brother Ben was stabbed to death while out celebrating his GCSEs in 2008.

Short films and articles will be available on BBC Three’s website to support the episode.

*EastEnders airs tomorrow at 9.10pm in BBC One

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