Damilola: The Boy Next Door
- Brian Donaldson
- 29 October 2020
Documentary revisiting the tragic death of Damilola Taylor and the happier memories of a childhood cut short
When Damilola Taylor bled to death in a stairwell yards from his home in 2000, it launched a tabloid storm about Britain's council estates where such awful tragedy was almost inevitable. For those who knew Damilola (who was just short of his 11th birthday when he died at the hands of two brothers barely much older than him), a different story can be told. Despite the tough living conditions that surrounded them on the North Peckham Estate, all they wanted to be were kids having a laugh, playing outside on the small green patches that seemed like a safe haven from the cockroach-ridden flats they would go home to later.
Now 30, radio DJ Yinka Bokinni has returned to the area, largely unrecognisable since they tore down those flats, where Damilola both played and died. A lot, perhaps too much, is crammed into 50 minutes airtime, with Yinka poring through the media archives and meeting up with other North Peckham Estate residents including actor Ashley Walters and rapper Tinyman to discuss their own memories of where they grew up and any memories they had of Damilola. Yinka wails with embarrassment on seeing herself talk in a Panorama documentary about the killing, while everyone interviewed feels a sense of residual grief and guilt that they weren't able to prevent the murder as Damilola walked home from Peckham Library. It's an overwhelmingly tragic story with snippets of hope about keeping people's memories alive and trying to focus on the good times.
Available now on All 4.