The shocking death of ten-year old Damilola Taylor in 2000 saw an innocent schoolboy lose his life on the streets of London.
A feature-length BBC drama, airing on Monday 7 November 2016, now tells the true story of his family, going beyond the headlines to reveal a surprising and affecting portrait of fatherhood, loss and love.
The drama goes behind the headlines, immersing us in Damilola’s world, exploring his journey from Lagos to London, and his family’s quest for justice. Told primarily from the point of view of Damilola’s father, Richard Taylor OBE, this is an intimate and deeply moving story of fatherhood, family and hope.
The film, made with the support of the Taylor family, was written by Levi David Addai, previously known for My Murder, a film starring John Boyega. Levi talks about why he got involved in the project and how it affected him.
Why did you write Damilola, Our Loved Boy?
I was interested to know why he (Damilola) came to the UK? Why the family stayed after his death? Who was the real Richard Taylor? Why did he decide to help the youth of South London? Where did that strength come from? Then I got fascinated about what happened behind closed doors.
The image of a united and dignified Richard and Gloria Taylor, standing on the Old Bailey steps stuck with me since I first saw it. Now I wondered what they went through when they went home. Another question that came to me was when I realized that Damilola wasn’t an only child. There were two other older children, his sister Gbemi and his brother Tunde. With so much media attention on Richard I then wondered what it was like for them, particularly Richard’s remaining son Tunde.
Do you remember the news back in 2000 when is happened? If so, how did it affect you?
I was in college at the time and living in south-east London. Gangs were always an issue, but there weren’t as many frequent fatalities at that point. Plus, when it came to violent street crime it was more likely to involve people 18+. So when the news broke about Damilola being stabbed there was utmost revulsion and confusion. How can a ten-year-old be stabbed to death? It didn’t compute. It made no sense. Then, as the details came out, it just made everyone’s heart very heavy.
What do you want the audience to take away from the drama?
I hope the audience is impacted by the Taylors’ journey, their strength, their love and ultimately their unity. I hope by the end of the film they don’t see the family as just victims of crime but are inspired and encouraged by a family who overcame so much.
Damilola, Our Loved Boy transmits on Monday 7th November at 8.30pm on BBC One, and BBC iPlayer thereafter.
Feature Image credit: BBC/Minnow Films/Steffan Hill
Article Image credit: BBC/Minnow Films/Joe Albas