Channel 4 commissions Damilola: The Boy Next Door

Category: News Release

To mark the 20th anniversary of Damilola Taylor’s violent murder on the North Peckham Estate, Channel 4 has commissioned 1x60 mins  documentary from Acme Films.  This poignant and reflective film will be presented by Yinka Bokinni DJ, radio presenter, writer and former resident of the estate and childhood friend of Damilola.

The horrendous and lonely death of ten-year-old Damilola Taylor in the dank stairwell of an estate in Peckham in November 2000 stunned the nation. It seemed to encapsulate a nation mired in moral crisis and a society that was fundamentally broken.

In the aftermath of Damilola’s death, the estate was demolished and the families dispersed. Now, twenty years on, Yinka Bokinni 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.

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.

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.”

Yinka Bokinni added; “ 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.”

Jaimie D’Cruz, creative director, acme films continued;  “Acme prides itself on telling stories that reflect the realities of life for people and communities whose voices are often silenced by simplified narratives and the rush to judgement. In revisiting an event that both shocked the nation and impacted young lives completely, Ashley Francis-Roy’s powerful film explores childhood, trauma and the nature of unreliable memory, and discovers a brilliant new documentary talent in Yinka Bokinni”


Commissioning Editor:  Fozia Khan

Presented by:  Yinka Bokinni

Production Company:  Acme Films

Assistant Producer: Nelson Adeosun

Executive Producers: Jaimie D’Cruz,  Jonathan Smith

Filmed, Produced and Directed by:  Ashley Francis-Roy