Josh Hanson's mum Tracey to appear on special knife crime episode of EastEnders tonight
PUBLISHED: 11:18 06 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:02 09 July 2018
Tracey Hanson, mum of stabbed Kingsbury man Josh, and his sister Brooke, are set to make a cameo appearance on tonight's episode of EastEnders as part of her work raising awareness of knife crime.
The episode showing the funeral of Shakil Kazemi – who lost his life to knife crime in the series – featured testimonies from the families of real-life victims.
Shakil, played by Shaheen Jafargholi, was stabbed along with his friend Keegan, played by Zack Morris, in May.
The show’s writers took into account the attending families’ personal experiences to help write the storyline.
More than 20 families were filmed in the episode, including Tracey and her daughter Brooke, Josh’s older sister.
Tracey’s son Josh was stabbed in the neck at the RE Bar in Hillingdon in an unprovoked attack while on a night out with friends on October 11, 2015.
Since then Tracey has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of the rising levels of knife crime.
“There’s lots of people out there who don’t see the bigger picture and it’s amazing that the public will see all these grieving families together,” said Tracey.
“People don’t necessarily know the huge effect the knife crime is having on our country.
“To be part of something that has a massive audience and for Josh’s memory to be included means we’re being heard.”
Speaking of her work, Tracey said: “We work tirelessly to raise awareness of the effects of knife crime and we look for opportunities to help find positive solutions to help prevent it from happening to others.”
The show’s writers also consulted with Brooke Kinsella, the actress who played Kelly Taylor from 2001 to 2004.
She launched the Ben Kinsella Trust after her brother was stabbed in 2008.
EastEnders executive producer John Yorke said: “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, in order to get their blessing.
“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.”
Speaking after filming the episode Tracey said: “They have portrayed the pain that we live with everyday without sensationalising it. It was an extremely moving day.”