28 October 2020 10:42
What's on TV tonight: DJ Yinka Bokinni remembers her murdered friend Damilola Taylor Also the last in the series of Urban Myths mythologises Orson Welles' time in Norwich and The Noughties remembers the pop culture of 2001 Pick of the day: Damilola: The Boy Next Door Radio DJ Yinka Bokinni was 10 in November 2000, the same age as her friend and neighbour Damilola Taylor when was he stabbed to death with a broken bottle. South London's North Peckham estate, where they both lived and Taylor died, was demolished soon after and its families dispersed. In a touching documentary, Bokinni sets about reconnecting with childhood friends to test the accuracy of her memories and to compare their rosy hues with, for example, a Panorama description of "drugs, desolation and disillusion". "You look like an otter covered in tar," Nancy (Kate Fleetwood) tells Charlotte (Jessica Brown Findlay) after the latter emerges from the house of ill repute fire-bombed by rival newcomer Isaac Pincher (Alfie Allen). The series concludes with a look at the king's final years, when the pain caused by an infected ulcer on his leg had a detrimental impact on his increasingly angry temper.
It's set 10 years after the original story, when "pre-crime" has been outlawed and old-fashioned sleuthing techniques re-introduced, when one of the newly unemployed clairvoyant "seers" teams up with a conventional cop in a classic chalk-and-cheese, buddy-buddy cop duo. It's a shame that this nostalgia-fest focuses entirely on the movies, TV shows and music of the given year (this week it's 2001), especially when Angela Scanlon has guests of the journalistic calibre of Amol Rajan and the new Woman's Hour presenter Emma Barnett. It seems a waste to limit their attention to the first Harry Potter film, a Louis Theroux documentary, the "Who Shot Phil Mitchell?" storyline in EastEnders and the first series of The Office. Orson Welles in Norwich may sound like Alan Partridge touting one of his daft programme ideas to TV executives, but it's the title of the last in this series of comedy-dramas based on unlikely celebrity meetings. But Yinka Bokinni just about manages it here as she recalls Damilola as a boisterous childhood friend rather than the symbol he became.
Damilola: The Boy Next Door is just one of the gems on today... A new documentary looks back at the life and death of Damilola: The Boy Next Door, This Is Us is back for a new series on Amazon Prime Video, and 2001 is revisited in The Noughties. Our hand-selected recommendations for what's on TV tonight include three TV shows, a film, live sport and the latest trending need-to-binge-on-now box set The award-winning US drama about the Pearson family returns for a fifth series on Amazon Prime Video. While it's undoubtedly the kind of feel-good programme that viewers will welcome at the moment, this latest series – which began filming after coronavirus hit – will reportedly include not only COVID-related storylines but also some relating to Black Lives Matter. The violent death of 10-year old Damilola Taylor on 27 November 2000 sent shockwaves across the UK.
"Move people to hell and then call them devils." These are the words DJ and presenter Yinka Bokinni utters as she sifts through newspaper clippings about the north Peckham council estate in Channel 4 documentary Damilola: The Boy Next Door. The final blow was dealt by a tragedy so horrific that it shook the nation: the killing of 10-year-old schoolboy Damilola Taylor, who was slashed with a broken bottle by a 12- and 13-year-old as he walked home from computer club at Peckham Library in November 2000. You may also like The Trial Of The Chicago 7: the true story behind the gripping Netflix film Damilola and his parents had moved from Nigeria to the UK that year, and he swiftly befriended the local children – including the little girl who lived next door to the Taylors, Yinka Bokinni. Today, 20 years after Damilola's death, Bokinni is finally ready to speak out about the effect the tragedy had on her and her peers; the people who rallied around him and yet were dismissed at best, vilified at worst. In the hour-long film she revisits north Peckham, fuelled by the desire to tell Damilola's story from the perspective of those who really knew him and to document the aftershocks of grief and trauma that continue to ripple through the community. It's vital and heartbreaking, from the footage of a confused 11-year-old Bokinni being interviewed for Panorama to cathartic conversations with her sister and her childhood best friend. Firstly, why did you feel it was important to revisit Damilola's story, 20 years on? For a long time, I didn't tell people that I knew Dami, or even that I was from that north Peckham estate. It felt like it was time to reflect; the truth is I'd never really dealt with his death and what it meant until we started making this documentary. It was a lot, especially because I've never done a show like this before – I'm usually working on red carpets or on the radio talking about Skepta's latest tune. It was emotionally draining, but I felt like I wanted to do Damilola the service of telling his story correctly. So it feels very fresh, especially because it's the first time I'm speaking about it. As you interview friends and family it becomes clear that most of you have avoided talking about the impact of Damilola's death. I'm not here to pretend north Peckham was sunshine and rainbows, and I think when you're from a place that's notorious for its violence, you can become desensitised to it. Damilola Taylor was the first person I knew who had been murdered, but he's not the only person. When Dami died, the police didn't knock on our door even though he was in our house every day. The only people who came were from Panorama, or salacious tabloid reporters looking for titbits to fit into their one narrative of Peckham. And I know I can't dispel a myth in an hour, but I just wanted to show a different side to the community – to show that, actually, when these bad things happen to people like us, it does stay with us and it does affect us. In Damilola: The Boy Next Door, Yinka Bokinni returns to north Peckham estate, her childhood home. I wanted to remind people that I'm not the only person who's doing OK from back home. And when you add in being Black and being a woman, it's like, actually, when we get to these heights we should shout about where we're from and show others what they're capable of. Filming this documentary has ultimately taught me that two things can be true at the same time: I can be proud of where I'm from, I can love my estate and love the people, but I can also be honest about the fact that it was tough, the fact that we'd wake up with cockroaches in our bed some days. Do you think Damilola's death has had an impact on the woman you are today? I remember getting the bus to school and going past a corner shop that had the South London Press headlines up in the window – every day they were about Damilola, but the one that sticks with me is: 'He died alone'. I just remember thinking, 'I can't imagine anything worse.' So I don't think it's any coincidence that I'm such a people person, always trying to reach out and connect with my friends and make sure people never feel alone or unsupported. What's the one thing you hope people will take from the film? It's very much our take on what we experienced, the people who knew him and grew up around him. Dami's story was one of tragedy, and I can see now with some distance that it was traumatic, but I want people to see that he had a community around him and he was loved. I think a lot of us would have chosen to grow up in different circumstances, me included, but not if that meant I didn't have the memories I do of Damilola. I just wanted to do his story justice, and I hope people see a different side to it. I didn't want to make another film about this poor little Nigerian boy who didn't stand a chance in London, because ultimately, he was one of us. Damilola: The Boy Next Door airs on Wednesday 28 October, 9pm, Channel 4