20/06/2018 22:00 BST | Updated 21/06/2018 09:56 BST

'EastEnders' To Feature Real-Life Accounts From Families In Special Knife Crime Episode

The soap is breaking from tradition to address the serious issue.

‘EastEnders’ bosses have announced plans for a special episode as part of its knife crime storyline, which will include true-life accounts from people who have lost loved ones due to knife crime.

Last month, the soap won praise for scenes involving schoolboys Shakil Kazemi and Keegan Baker, who were stabbed by a gang.

It has now been revealed that in an upcoming episode, which will focus on Shakil’s funeral, the soap will include testimonials from real people affected by the devastating social issue of knife crime.

Keegan and Shakil in 'EastEnders'

John Yorke, currently serving as the show’s executive consultant, 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.”

He added: “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.”

To coincide with the episode, the BBC will also feature short films and written features relating to knife crime.

It was previously revealed that former ‘EastEnders’ star and anti-knife crime campaigner Brooke Kinsella worked closely with the soap to ensure that the storyline was handled sensitively and tastefully.

Brooke, who played Zoe Slater’s best friend Kelly Smith from 2001 to 2004, lost her 16-year-old brother Ben in 2008 when he was stabbed to death by a gang of three youths in a London street. She has since worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the issue.

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