EastEnders star Zack Morris called for an end of the knife crime “crisis” as he arrived on the red carpet at the British Soap Awards.
The 20-year-old, who plays stabbing victim Keegan Baker in the BBC soap, said he wanted to change the public’s perception with the acclaimed storyline.
Morris, who is nominated for best male dramatic performance, said solving the crisis was “one for the politicians” but that actors could also play a part.
Speaking at The Lowry theatre in Salford, Greater Manchester, on Saturday, he told the Press Association: “That’s one for the politicians. I’m not a politician. I’m an actor.
“All I do is read the words from the paper. It’s a crisis that we are going through and it needs to stop.
“All we can do as actors – as part of EastEnders – is try and change people’s mindsets. The episode is being shown in schools. That’s what we are trying to do.
“Perception is the main thing. If that changes a lot of things will follow.”
EastEnders is also in the running to scoop the award for scene of the year for knife crime victim Shaki Kazemi’s funeral.
Morris added: “With any serious storyline you’ve got to tread carefully and work on the details. That’s the main thing, just work on the details.
“We covered not the actual stabbing but the aftermath. We worked closely with people who have been through similar things.
“I was chatting to them and just learning from them. I admire their courage.
“It’s not just the people who get stabbed – it’s the families and friends. It affects everyone. We wanted to show that. It was more impactful to the viewer.”
EastEnders and Hollyoaks lead the nominations with 14 nods each.
Hollyoaks star Nadine Mulkerrin revealed some good news ahead of the ceremony as she shared she is expecting her first baby with fiance and fellow Hollyoaks star Rory Douglas-Speed.
Mulkerrin, who is nominated for the best female dramatic performance award for her role as Cleo McQueen, announced the news on Instagram.
Alongside a photograph of the couple showing her cradling her baby bump, she wrote: “That’s us three ready for the @thebritishsoapawards.”
Meanwhile, former Coronation Street star Shayne Ward said all of the soaps nominated in the best storyline category are “worthy winners”.
Ward played Aidan Connor in Corrie from 2015 until his departure in a male suicide storyline last year.
Corrie is nominated for The Impact of Aidan’s Suicide storyline, and also in the best single episode category for Aidan’s Suicide and the Aftermath.
Ward told Press Association: “I’m a guest tonight so I’m quite relaxed, and normally I’d be really nervous… all of the soaps that are nominated in this category are all worthy winners.”
The actor, who sported a new look with a full head of hair and a beard, said a dream role for him would be to star in a series like Peaky Blinders.
The cast of Corrie were big winners at the event last year, taking home the award for best British soap.
The ceremony is being hosted by Phillip Schofield and aired live on ITV1 from 8pm.