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One of the most controversial court cases in recent history is the subject of a gripping new drama.

BBC’s Three Girls tells the stories of Holly, Amber and Ruby, who fell victim to the Rochdale grooming ring, and explores how the effects of these devastating events lingered for years to come.

Although nine men were convicted for their part in the Rochdale sex abuse scandal, this provided little justice for its victims. Shunned by the authorities, the girls had to fight to have their voices heard.

The drama – which boasts an impressive cast including Maxine Peake, Jill Halfpenny and Lesley Sharp – hopes to highlight the impact this lack of support can have on the young and vulnerable. Producers spent three years collecting information from victims, their families and others who were involved in the case to ensure a fair representation of events – all of whom have given the series their blessing.

After the series finale last night, the show has been called “heartbreaking” “uncomfortable” and “disturbing”. Viewers were particularly disgusted over the treatment of one woman involved in the case…

Ms Rowbotham, who is played by Maxine Peake, was “excluded from future initiatives on child grooming” and later fired. As a result, she became ill from the stress of the case and consequently lost her job.

Viewers took to social media to vent their frustration at her treatment, with one writing: “Can’t help but feel Sara Rowbotham was royally screwed over (in) the 2008 Rochdale case. She’s a hero in my eyes.”

Another wrote: “Surprise Surprise – the two women who helped these girls – one resigned, one made redundant – the system stinks!!!!”

A third wrote: “Sara Rowbotham the only person who actually did something gets excluded and then made redundant?!? Really? Disgusting!

Here are a few things you need to know about BBC’s Three Girls…

1. The drama is a three-part series, which debuted on BBC1 on Tuesday, May 16, at 9pm for three consecutive nights.

2. The programme shines the spotlight on not only the abusers, but the failings of the local authorities who originally said that girls’ accounts weren’t ‘credible’. They had to make a public apology after the gang were convicted.

3. Shabir Ahmed, the gang’s ring leader, was jailed for 19 years after being found guilty of a string of child sex offences.

4. Maxine Peak, who plays the sexual health worker that fought for justice for the girls, is one to watch. Prior to BBC’s Three Girls, she played Veronica Ball in Channel 4’s Shameless, barrister Martha Costello in BBC legal drama Silk. She also starred opposite the late Victoria Wood in Dinnerladies.

5. Margaret Oliver, a police officer played by Lesley Sharp, has been very involved with the production of BBC’s Three Girls. Margaret worked on the 2012 case and then later resigned in protest to how the girls were treated. “I think it’s really important to get that message across into the public domain,” she told Stylist magazine.

“I didn’t want to look back in 20 years and feel like I kept quiet about what had happened. It will help the girls to see how badly they’ve been let down. Other people being outraged will mean they see they were failed.”

6. While we learn about the experiences of Holly, Amber and Ruby, there are still many other girls’ stories that go untold. The Rochdale grooming case identified a total of forty-seven girls as being victims of child sexual exploitation.

7. If you missed out when BBC’s Three Girls airs, it will be available on BBC iPlayer shortly after. The show will be available for 30 days after the final episode.


So will you be tuning into the show? Let us know on social – @womansown. Because we love hearing your thoughts!


FROM: Woman & Home, our sister site