To mark the 20th anniversary of Damilola Taylor’s violent murder on the North Peckham Estate in London, a new documentary comes to our TV screens, presented by Yinka Bokinni, a former resident of the estate and childhood friend of Damilola.
The 60-minute documentary will take a reflective and poignant look back to November 2000, when the horrendous and lonely death of ten-year-old Damilola Taylor in the dank stairwell of an estate in Peckham stunned the nation. It seemed to encapsulate a nation mired in moral crisis and a society that was fundamentally broken.
DJ, radio presenter and writer, Yinka Bokinni, was a former resident of the estate and childhood friend of Damilola. In the aftermath of Damilola’s death, the estate was demolished, and the families dispersed. Now, twenty years on, Yinka will offer her unique perspective as she explores the devastating impact Damilola’s death had on her community, her area, and the lives of almost everyone she knew, confronting for the first time the impact of a tragic event which the children from the area have never felt able to discuss.
“I’ve never spoken about the murder of my childhood friend until now, I have lived my life with so many questions about what happened and why it happened in the place that I called home.”
This is the latest project on the death of Damilola following 2016’s BBC drama, Damilola: Our Loved Boy. In this film, Yinka will attempt to reconcile the two versions of her past and try to understand how the warm, loving and happy community she remembers so fondly from her childhood was presented in the media as a crime-ridden “sink estate” that was somehow to blame for the tragic loss of a young life.
The “notorious” North Peckham Estate, once hailed as the finest estate in the whole of Europe had been shorthand for gangs, drugs and violence since the 1980s. But there was another side to life there. For the families who lived there, the North Peckham Estate was home to a warm and loving community.
Yinka Bokinni said: “I’ve never spoken about the murder of my childhood friend until now, I have lived my life with so many questions about what happened and why it happened in the place that I called home. To finally be telling the story feels both therapeutic and scary but I am ready to share this side of the story. Hopefully everyone will get to know the real Damilola, as he lived, a bit better.”
Fozia Khan, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries said: “This deeply personal and important film, authored by Yinka Bokinni, makes us look at a story we think we know with fresh eyes. Although Damilola Taylor died 20 years ago, the questions Yinka asks and reflects on in the film have never felt more timely.”