EastEnders are set to tackle youth gangs and knife crime in an upcoming storyline that will air later this spring.
The storyline will place the Kazemis and Taylors at the heart of the drama when Shakil, played by Shaheen Jafargholi, and Keegan, played by Zack Morris, are attacked.
As the storyline unfolds, viewers will see the wide reaching ramifications of knife crime for all those involved as well as the local community as everyone attempts to comprehend the gravity of what has happened on their doorstep.
EastEnders are working alongside Brooke Kinsella MBE, who started the Ben Kinsella Trust, after her brother was fatally stabbed in June 2008.
Talking about the storyline Brooke said “It is now 10 years since we lost Ben to this horrific crime and it is impossible to put into words how Ben’s murder has affected my family. The pain of Ben’s loss will never go away, there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think about him and miss him.
"I commend the EastEnders team for choosing this storyline to portray the realities of knife crime. With knife crime on the increase it is vitally important that we help people understand its lasting impact. Carrying a knife won’t protect you, it won’t give you status, harming or stabbing someone isn’t a trivial act.
"It simply destroys lives forever. We need to do more to help people understand this, especially young people. That’s why my family and I set up the Ben Kinsella Trust to help educate young people away from knife crime.
"I believe that this storyline will bring home the realities of knife crime to a wider audience and show how it damages the lives of victims, offenders, their families and friends forever.”
John Yorke, Executive Consultant of EastEnders, said “The brutal reality of knife crime was brought home to everyone at EastEnders with the tragic murder of Ben Kinsella in 2008.
"Ben’s sister Brooke - who has been such an important part of the show - began an inspiring campaign to bring attention to the awful consequences - a campaign that continues to this day. However, knife crime is as prevalent today as it was back then so it’s more important than ever to raise awareness of the nature of this terrible crime – and how horrendous it is for teenagers, their families and communities.
"EastEnders has a long tradition of tackling serious public issues, and this is one of the most important the show has ever embarked on. The episodes are powerful, heart breaking and dramatic, and we hope will help both carry on Brooke’s inspiring message - while making it clear that knife crime destroys the lives of everyone it touches.”