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, and has since worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the issue.
She is now working with ‘EastEnders’ producers on the development of a plot that will see Shakil Kazemi and Keegan Taylor attacked in harrowing scenes.
Viewers will see the far-reaching consequences the attack has on them and their families when the storyline begins this spring.
Brooke, who also set up the Ben Kinsella Trust in her brother’s name after his death, said in a statement: “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.”
She 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.”
‘EastEnders’ executive consultant, John Yorke, also 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.”
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