EastEnders boss John Yorke has said everyone needs to hear the harrowing real-life stories from the families of knife crime victims that will feature in Friday night's special episode of the BBC soap.

The families' stories are interspersed with scenes showing the funeral of EastEnders character Shakil Kazemi (played by Shaheen Jafargholi), who was fatally stabbed in Albert Square in May. 

Former EastEnders star Brooke Kinsella, whose brother Ben Kinsella was fatally stabbed in 2008, worked as an adviser on the storyline. She is now a campaigner against knife crime, with Ben and Brooke's father George Kinsella also among the families who appear in Friday night's episode.  

"Perhaps because of our relationship with Brooke Kinsella, the subject has always felt very close to the show's heart and so when we decided to tackle it she and her father were the very first people we spoke to, to get their blessing," said EastEnders boss Yorke.

EastEnders character Shakil Kazemi (played by actor Shaheen Jafargholi) was fatally stabbed during the storyline in May

"They were incredibly open and in turn opened us up to a whole new world of which we thought we knew something and realised we knew nothing.

"So through them we met the most extraordinary people and we wanted to get the show right, we wanted to get it absolutely accurate."

"We wanted to get the show right, we wanted to get it absolutely accurate"

Yorke described the storyline as "a tricky subject to do and easy to get wrong". 

"We talked to the people they recommended, and we kept talking, and the more we talked something really fascinating started to evolve, which was an idea that these stories were so powerful by themselves that really everyone just needed to hear those stories."

The episode airs on Friday at 8:00pm on RTÉ One and 9:30pm on BBC One.

EastEnders airs on RTÉ One and BBC One on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Catch up on EastEnders on the RTÉ Player.

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