‘EastEnders’ fans praised the soap for tackling the growing problem of knife crime in hard-hitting scenes on Monday.
Viewers of the BBC One soap saw schoolboys Shakil Kazemi and Keegan Baker stabbed by a gang of youths after Keegan riled them by stealing a bike.
Their lives hung in the balance at the end of the episode, as they both laid helplessly in the alleyway of the Queen Vic.
The powerful scenes showed the grim reality of London’s current knife crime problem, as over 40 people have so far been stabbed to death in the capital this year.
The soap received wide-spread praise on social media for drawing attention to the issue, and dealing with it in a realistic way:
Bosses worked with former star Brooke Kinsella MBE on the plot, after her 16-year-old brother was stabbed to death in a knife attack in 2008.
Brooke, who played Zoe Slater’s best friend Kelly Smith from 2001 to 2004, 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.
“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.”
Brooke, who has become and anti-knife crime campaigner since Ben’s death, added: “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.”
Previously released spoilers have revealed Shakil will lose his life following the attack, and in the coming days, viewers will see the far-reaching consequences his death has on his family and friends, with his mother Carmel attempting suicide.
It will also prompt the arrival of his and Kush’s brother Darius and father Omar on the Square, after the news reaches them.
‘EastEnders’ continues on Tuesday at 7.30pm on BBC One.