EastEnders is next week set to air a devastating episode which will see the community gather to pay their final respects to Shakil Kazemi as he is laid to rest in an emotional funeral ceremony. The episode will be made particularly poignant by the inclusion of real life families of knife crime victims, who will share their own true stories of loss to violence as part of the narrative.
Carmel has been burying her head over the tragedy and as the funeral approaches, she continues to do just that – prompting Kush and Denise to worry about her. As the difficult day of laying her son to rest arrives, can Carmel find herself in a strong enough place to get through it?
Meanwhile, the day affects other members of Walford too as Keegan Baker and Bex Fowler join their friends at the church and kick off the ceremony by sharing memories of their close friend. As the moving day gets underway, there are tears all round as the senseless tragedy hits home.
But can Carmel and the rest of the Kazemis – as well as Shakils many friends – find closure as they say goodbye?
Discussing the real life element of the episode, show boss John Yorke commented: 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. Weve 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 weve come some way to getting that enormity across.
EastEnders airs the funeral episode on Friday 6th July at 8pm on BBC One.