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'EastEnders' works with Comic Relief for Liam Butcher gang storyline

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EastEnders bosses have teamed up with Comic Relief to highlight the growing problem of teen involvement in gangs.

A forthcoming storyline on the BBC One soap will see Bianca Butcher (Patsy Palmer) left distraught when her 14-year-old son Liam becomes caught up in a gang, which results in her losing control of the schoolboy.

James Forde as Liam Butcher in EastEnders

© BBC

Patsy Palmer as Bianca Butcher in EastEnders.

© BBC



As the hard-hitting plot progresses, Bianca will face the terrible reality of trying to get Liam (James Forde) to choose between his family and the gang - but which way he turns remains to be seen.

EastEnders chiefs and Comic Relief have worked on Liam's story together, undertaking research into why teenagers become involved in gangs and the devastating effects the culture can have.

The collaboration between EastEnders and Comic Relief comes after they previously teamed up for Whitney Dean's sex exploitation storyline in 2011.

EastEnders' executive producer Lorraine Newman commented: "We are delighted to be working with Comic Relief once again. This subject matter is something which is touching the lives of so many young people in London and other cities around the UK.

"We have taken the opportunity to see the impact from a mother's perspective, and Patsy Palmer gives a powerful performance of a mother doing all she can to protect her son. The telling of this story has also given us the chance to explore the reasons behind the attraction of gangs for teenagers."

Bianca attempts to lighten the mood by getting the family to cook a big meal and bake Carol a cake.

© BBC



Judith McNeill, Grants Director for Comic Relief, added: "Comic Relief is really excited to be working with EastEnders again to highlight an important issue supported by Red Nose Day.

"In 2011, Comic Relief put EastEnders in touch with young people who had been sexually exploited so that the reality of this horrific form of abuse could be accurately portrayed. The groundbreaking storyline was important in lifting the lid on a hidden issue and significantly raised the profile of the issue of young people and sexual exploitation across the UK.

"This year's storyline should play an equally important role in promoting greater understanding of why young people are vulnerable to becoming involved in gangs."

Liam's gang storyline will start on screen next month and include a six-minute episode which will be transmitted as part of BBC One's Comic Relief broadcast on Friday, March 15.

New! Digital Spy Soap Scoop video - watch Amie Parker-Williams reveal the biggest storylines on the way in Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks next week.

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