Arts & Culture
New BBC One drama pays tribute to Anthony: The Life He Would Had Lived
29 July 2020
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the murder and death of Liverpool teenager Anthony Walker in a racist attack.
Anthony had a devout Christian faith and a love of basketball and was known to his family and friends for his humour, intelligence and compassion. He was halfway through college with dreams of visiting America and studying Law at university.
This new drama, broadcasting on BBC iPlayer was written after Gee Walker, Anthony’s mother, asked Jimmy McGovern to tell her son’s story. The drama is inspired by conversations with Gee, about the boy Anthony was and the man he was to become – it is the story of the life he could have lived.
Watch an extensive interview hosted by the British Black List’s Akua Gyamfi as she discusses this powerful new drama, with cast members Toheeb Jimoh, Rakie Ayola and Julia Brown, and writer Jimmy McGovern.
More about the brutal, racist murder of Anthony Walker
Anthony and his cousin Marcus were walking Anthony’s girlfriend to the bus stop in Huyton at around 11pm on July 29, 2005. One of the murderers, Anthony Barton, shouted racist abuse which Anthony ignored as they walked past a pub.
Then fellow attacker Paul Taylor told Barton he had ‘lost face’, and the pair decided to ambush the couple in McGoldrick Park. Anthony was trapped after his girlfriend and cousin got away – and Taylor drove a mountaineering axe into his head. He died in the early hours of July 30.
News of the murder shocked the country, with hundreds of flowers and cards left at the scene and thousands taking part in an anti-racism vigil outside St George’s Hall.
Meanwhile Anthony’s family and the police appealed for help tracing the killers at an emotional press conference.
The candlelit Walk of Remembrance in memory of Anthony at McGoldrick Park, Huyton, in 2005.
Barton and Taylor had fled the country, but were arrested as they got off the plane at John Lennon Airport and are now behind bars.
John Au, of the Anthony Walker Foundation set up to tackle racism in his name, said: “July 30 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the senseless and tragic death of Anthony Delano Walker.
“A popular young man, Anthony was like any other teenager with a love for sports, music and the arts. He was studying law with his heart set on becoming a lawyer.
“Sadly, those dreams were never realised. We can only imagine how his life may have unfolded over the years but for those close to him, his friends and family, there is a real sense and belief he was destined for great things.
“Anthony’s untimely death mirrored that of Stephen Lawrence who was also just 18 years of age when he was killed in a racist attack in 1993. Michael Causer was also 18 years old when he was killed in a homophobic attack.
“These are just a few examples of individuals who lost their lives because of prejudice, discrimination and hostility.
“We can never afford to forget the death of Anthony and the many others who have lost their lives needlessly.
“We have to understand and believe that in the years ahead we can work together, united as one, to achieve a safer world for all.”
Photo credit: BBC