EastEnders viewers in tears as real knife crime victims’ families appear in heartbreaking Shakil funeral scene

In a ground breaking move, fans of the BBC show listened to the devastating and gut-wrenching true stories of knife crime victims, told by the relatives themselves.

The tragic tales were woven into the episode which was centred around the funeral of Shakil Kazemi (Shaheen Jafargholi) – who was stabbed by a gang last month.

In the final scenes the families of real victims held up the pictures of their children in a touching and moving tribute.

Those watching at home were incredibly moved and took to Twitter to comment on it.

One person wrote: “Well #EastEnders has broke me tonight!! Sobbing @BBCOne @bbceastenders #noknives #stopknifecrime Such brave families telling their stories xx”

Another remarked: “Wow #Eastenders. Such a moving episode. What a poingnant reminder of the horror of knife crime in our country. Amazing . Well done to all @bbceastenders and @BBCOne.”

And someone else tweeted: “Sitting breaking my heart crying at #Eastenders tonight 😥 Absolutely heartbreaking ❤”

The Metropolitan Police also comment on the episode and wrote: "This evening @bbceastenders aired an episode showing characters gathered together to say their final goodbyes to a victim of knife crime.

"The events depicted within the show, sadly mirror that of the many lives affected by violent crime in across London.

"Stopping knife crime is our priority, with activities happening every day, across the city to tackle the issue.

"If you're worried about someone carrying a knife or involved in violent crime, go to our website where there is advice on the steps you can take."

Earlier this month EastEnders executive consultant John Yorke decided to incorporate the real-life accounts into the show after the soap's researchers began speaking to families about the topic ahead of Shaki's death.

John 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."

The show's knife crime storyline was explored to mark the 10th anniversary of former star Brooke Kinsella's brother Ben, who was stabbed to death in the summer of 2008 by three male youths.

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