EastEnders viewers shocked as knife crime storyline starts

By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent
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EastEnders viewers shocked as knife crime storyline starts

Fans praised the BBC soap for tackling such an important issue.

Viewers have praised EastEnders for raising awareness of knife crime in a hard-hitting episode that saw Keegan Baker and Shakil Kazemi get stabbed.

Monday night’s episode of the BBC soap – which aired at 8.30pm rather than 8pm – saw Keegan (Zack Morris) and Shakil (Shaheen Jafargholi) attacked by a local gang after Keegan stole a bike.

Both were stabbed and lay injured in an alley near the Queen Vic as the instalment came to a close.

Fans said they were “shocked” and “disturbed” by the upsetting scenes but congratulated the soap for doing its part to highlight the issue.

One viewer said on Twitter: “Wow well done #EastEnders. I knew what was coming but was still shocked – a very powerful hard hitting episode that highlights just how serious an issue knife crime is in this country, particularly amongst the younger generation. It’s frightening.”

“The sad fact is knife crime is happening in real life and it’s all over stupid things, nobody needs to be carrying a knife around with them, as #eastenders has shown the devastating consequences,” another tweeter pointed out.

Another viewer said: “I had a lump in my throat watching this tonight, also brings back some memories of my own.

“It is heart breaking that this happens day in day out!!”

Another tweet read: “Tonight’s #EastEnders highlighted an important issue that’s currently ongoing.

“After tonight’s episode I hope people realise the consequences that come with people carrying knives on the street with them.

“I hope the episode tonight makes at least one person drop a knife for good.”

EastEnders worked on the story with former cast member Brooke Kinsella, whose brother Ben, 16, was fatally stabbed in June 2008.

Kinsella, who started the Ben Kinsella Trust in memory of her brother to educate people about knife crime, has said the 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 continues on BBC One.