Shaheen Jafargholi's huge EastEnders responsibility
15 May 2018 - 10:01 AM

Shaheen Jafargholi's huge EastEnders responsibility

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Shaheen Jafargholi feels a "massive responsibility" portraying a tragic knife crime storyline in "EastEnders".

The 21-year-old actor will bow out of the BBC One soap next week when his character Shakil Kazemi is stabbed to death after he and pal Keegan Baker (Zack Morris) are caught up in a war with a gang, and the former "Britain's Got Talent" star is "proud" to be covering the plot.

He said: "This is a massive responsibility for everyone involved in the storyline. Especially right now with how intense the problems of knife crime have become around the UK. I'm really pleased we're doing this storyline - it's so important.

"I feel really proud. As an actor, I was excited when John [Yorke] first told me the idea of what was going to happen. It's hopefully going to help so many people and bring light to the situation.

"It's something that needs to be spoken about, especially at this moment in time. I'm so grateful and humbled."

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While Shaheen is sad to be leaving the soap, he is "really privileged" to have been trusted with such a hard-hitting storyline.

He said: "Obviously I love the environment here, I've had such a good time and made some incredible friends and memories. It's like anything that you join that you love - you never want good things to end.

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"But on the flip side of that, no one stays forever, it's the nature of the business, but I feel really privileged with this storyline."

What's more, the former "Britain's Got Talent" star admits one of his or Zack's characters needed to die to show "all the consequence of knife crime".

He added: "It's right for Keegan and Shakil to be involved because it's people of their age this is happening to in real life. Sadly, a lot of stabbings are fatal.

"Then there's a whole family and world of people who are left with the consequences and having to deal with this for the rest of their lives.

"That's the part of the story that's going to be crucial to tell because the majority of us don't see or experience this.

"If neither of them died, we wouldn't be showing all the consequences of knife crime and that's the important part."

"EastEnders" have teamed up with former star Brooke Kinsella - who played Kelly Taylor on the show from 2001 to 2004 - to work on the knife crime story after she started the Ben Kinsella Trust in memory of her brother, who was fatally stabbed in June 2008.

Brooke said: "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.

"The pain of Ben's loss will never go away, there isn't a day that goes by that we don't think about him and miss him.

"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."

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