EastEnders is to broadcast an episode featuring accounts from relatives of real-life victims of knife crime.
It’s part of the soap’s ongoing knife crime storyline, which saw character Shakil Kazemi stabbed and killed by a gang in an episode in May.
The true stories will be incorporated into an episode next month centring around the funeral of Shakil.
The accounts will be told by the relatives themselves in what is a first for the soap.
The soap’s knife crime story line was written to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of former star Brooke Kinsella’s brother.
EastEnders executive consultant John Yorke said the need to include the real-life stories became apparent when the show’s researchers spoke to the families about the challenging storyline.
Yorke said: “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.
“We’ve tried to find a way to do justice to an incredibly difficult, tragic and emotive subject,” he added.
In the episode, to air in July, viewers will see Shakil’s funeral interspersed with cutaways of the relatives talking about their real-life experiences.
At least 46 people have been fatally stabbed in London this year, with almost 1,300 stabbings in the capital in total up to the end of April, according to statistics from the Metropolitan Police.
In addition to the EastEnders special, BBC Three will be producing a series of short films that will reveal more about the lives of the families involved in the episode.