Damilola Taylor Our Loved Boy

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Photograph accredited to dailymail.co.uk

‘Damilola Our Loved Boy’ explores the harrowing death of Damilola Taylor, a 10-year-old boy who was brutally murdered by a gang of teenagers in Peckham, sixteen years ago.

Shocking the nation, Damilola’s death left many outraged at the slaughter of a ‘school boy’ who posed no threat, at ten years of age. To commemorate his life and raise awareness on youth crime, the BBC provided us with a ‘desperately sad’ feature length drama of his death- weaving the tale of Damilola’s experience in England and how his family coped with the loss of their youngest child.

The drama begins with the introduction of the Taylor’s, and we meet the well-respected family of five in their home country Nigeria. The diversity of characteristics is what makes a family, and this is visualized with the Taylors. With firm father Richard Taylor leading the family forward and submissive wife Gloria by his side, Damilola adds a lovable and witty change to his family. With his wide and outstretched smile and easygoing persona, viewers are immediately endeared to him, and we can’t help but hope that things end differently.

As the production continues, we learn of eldest daughter’s Gbemi illness, which requires effective treatment in England. Gloria and the family are then uprooted to South London from Lagos. Wanting to go to the UK because it is ‘Great Britain, you see, it is great’, viewers witness Damilola’s excitement of being in a new country. However, the ‘greatness’ obscures the true reality of living in the UK, which consists of relatively high crime amongst youths.

The drama transforms into a heart-wrenching, tragic performance as we watch Mrs Taylor wait patiently for youngest son Damilola to return home after school. As minutes, then hours tick by. We are made aware of Damilola’s death- on November 27th 2000, after leaving the library Damilola was stabbed with a broken bottle by a gang of youths. Although a reenactment of the nights disturbing events, emotions are still plaintive and raw. Surely, coming home from the library should not result in the death of a ten-year-old child?

Continuing to show life after Dami, we see each family member react differently to the death of his or her relative. Brother Tunde is wracked with guilt, whilst mother Gloria tries her best to keep her family together and father Richard embarks on a journey of justice for his son.

Damilola Our Loved Boy is ‘a story of survival, redemption and hope’ and is highly recommended. Many thanks, to the BBC for providing a show that resonates with many. Along with the cast, who did an excellent job with conveying the harrowing story of Damilola Taylor. Unlike many traditional dramas, this does not end with a joyous reconciliation or exuberant smiles. The darker tones of the show are not dispelled and leave viewers curious to all the unanswered questions. Why did these boys turn on Damilola Taylor?

You can watch the drama here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b082m41h/damilola-our-loved-boy

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Monique Boreland

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