EastEnders star Tony Clay reveals a personal connection to the show's tragic knife crime storyline

EastEnders‘ tragic knife crime storyline involving the death of Shakil Kazemi has not just touched audiences, but the soap’s own cast, too.

Actor Tony Clay, who plays Halfway, has revealed his own personal connection to the harrowing story, which saw Shakil die from a stab wound after stealing a gang’s bike.

Praising actors Shaheen Jafargholi (Shakil) and Zack Morris (Keegan Baker) for their “beautiful” performance on Twitter, Tony shared his story.

“10 years ago we lost a mate to knife crime & if this week’s episodes can stop another family or group of mates going through that grief then the show has truly done it’s job,” he wrote.

EastEnders has been working closely with Brooke Kinsella, whose brother Ben was stabbed in 2008, as well as The Ben Kinsella Trust, which helps raise awareness of knife crime.

Speaking about the storyline earlier this week, Shaheen acknowledged “the responsibility” of the soap to depict such an important issue accurately.

“We wanted to make sure we get the details right with this because you see news of people getting stabbed, but you don’t really see the ramifications that it has afterwards for the families and stuff like that,” he explained.

Bonnie Langford, who plays Shakil’s mother Carmel, has also praised EastEnders for dealing with the storyline ‘sensitively and with integrity’.

“They’ve tried to be as realistic as possible. But also this is just the beginning of the story,” she said.

EastEnders continues tonight (May 24) at 7.30pm on BBC One.

Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest EastEnders spoilers, as Carmel struggles to cope with Shakil’s death and Hayley blackmails Kat.

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