Damilola: The Boy Next Door on Channel 4 - Previewing Yinka Bokinni's 'heartbreaking' documentary

Jochan Embley
·2-min read
Des Willie
Des Willie

The impact left on a local community by one of the UK’s most high-profile killings will be explored in a new documentary this evening.

On November 27, 2000, Damilola Taylor died aged 10 in south-east London after being stabbed on his way home from the library.

Now, almost two decades on, a childhood friend of his has made a “heartbreaking” film, looking at the legacy of the tragic passing, as well as celebrating Damilola’s life.

Here, we preview what is set to be one of the most affecting documentaries of the year.

When is the documentary on TV?

Damilola: The Boy Next Door will air from 9pm to 10pm tonight (October 24) on Channel 4.

What can we expect from it?

Damilola Taylor, 10, was stabbed to death in south London (PA)
Damilola Taylor, 10, was stabbed to death in south London (PA)

The documentary is the work of Yinka Bokinni, the DJ, broadcaster, writer and filmmaker who grew up on the North Peckham estate alongside Damilola — someone she refers to as “like another brother”.

The film is set to focus less on the details of the tragedy itself, but more on the impact it had on Bokinni and other people who lived on the estate at the time. Bokinni travelled back to the area for the first time since 2001 as part of the filming, reconnecting with old friends and sharing memories of Damilola.

Bokinni made the film, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of Damilola’s death, “to show people that he mattered”. She wrote in the Guardian that, “hopefully, the programme shows that, for the short time he was with us, Dami was loved by our community. He was a vibrant kid with a life to live – and he was our friend”.

What has Damilola’s family said about the documentary?

The film was made with the blessing of Damilola’s father, Richard Taylor, who is now an anti-knife crime campaigner. He told the Standard: “The film brought all of the pain back. It was utterly heartbreaking to watch. I can see through those friends the life Damilola might have lived.”