Damilola: The Boy Next Door

Rating 8.4
Streamer All4
Seasons 1
Episodes 1 x 60 mins

Yinka Bokinni, now a DJ for Capital Xtra, grew up on the North Peckham estate that became notorious after the murder of ten-year-old Damilola Taylor in November 2000. Taking a break from the decks, Bokinni presents this documentary, talking about her experience of growing upon the estate and the impact the murder of her friend had on her life. After Damilola’s death, the North Peckham estate became known for crime and violence, and a few months after it was demolished entirely. The families and the community that lived there were displaced and dispersed around London, and never saw each other again. But now Bokinni is on a mission to reclaim her memories of the estate and reconnect with those who lived there to celebrate the life of the boisterous and funny boy they knew as “Dami”. It’s tough watching these people discuss the trauma they experienced so young in their lives, but through it they find comfort in shared experience and emotional release. They also reflect on the cultural melting pot that was 1990s Peckham, where people didn’t see race or religion, and simply accepted each other. Bokinni navigates all this with admirable frankness and warmth, and in her hands this is a moving and in some ways uplifting film.

The Telegraph’s Michael Hogan agrees by saying “For a film about the loss of a young life, it was somehow uplifting and redemptive,” calling it “a subtle, moving look at class and community, loss and trauma.” Ellen E Jones in The Guardian calls the film “very moving, not only for people who come from a similar background to Bokinni…but for anyone in any frequently misrepresented group.” The Times’ Carol Midgely however comments that “This film seemed almost like a therapy session for Bokinni” and was “sometimes repetitive.”

 First shown October 2020.

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