Soaps

BBC drama Three Girls tells the distressing true story of grooming and sexual abuse in Rochdale

Three Girls – a new three-part BBC drama – based on the true stories of the victims of Rochdale’s grooming gang.

When the grooming and sexual abuse of young girls in Rochdale finally came to light in 2012, it shocked the country. Not just because of the distressing nature of the abuse – which included rape and human trafficking on victims as young as 13 – but because the victims and their family’s requests for help and justice had been ignored by the police and social services for years.

Finally, last year, nine members of Rochdale’s child grooming gang (eight of whom were of Pakistani origin) were given jail sentences of up to 25 for abusing girls between 2005 and 2013. And now the three-part BBC drama, Three Girls, is set to shed further light on the abuse and the battle for justice.

READ: There's a petition for BBC's Three Girls to be shown as an educational programme in schools

Maxine Peake and Lesley Sharp star as a sexual health worker and detective (Credit: BBC)

The hard-hitting drama – which stars a host of household names including Maxine Peake, Jill Halfpenny and Paul Kaye – is set to be a tough watch. The team behind it spent three years talking to the victims and their families – who have all given the show their blessing.

Susan Hogg, Head of Drama, Studio Lambert says, “This true story, researched over a number of years, will shine a light on the trauma of sexual 'grooming', providing knowledge and understanding for parents and children alike. We are so grateful for the generosity of the young women and their families in sharing their experiences.”

READ: Rotherham abuse victim Sammy Woodhouse opens up about her ordeal: 'He beat me if I tried to leave'

Paul Kaye, Molly Windsor and Jill Halfpenny play a victim and her parents (Credit: BBC)

Talking about what she wants people to take from the drama, Maxine Peake – who plays Sara Rowbotham, a sexual health worker who fought for years to get justice for the victims – said: “That we still have an underclass in this country who are constantly ignored and vilified. These were young vulnerable children who were passed over again and again based on their class and place in society. I hope it will imbue people with the compassion that these young people deserve.”

Meanwhile, Jill Halfpenny – who plays the mother of one of the girls – added: “If there is anyone out there who has or is experiencing anything like this then hopefully watching this story may give them the courage to ask for help. That’s why it's important to me.”

When is Three Girls on TV?

Episode one of Three Girls airs at 9pm on Tuesday 16th May on BBC One

Episode two of Three Girls airs at 9pm on Wednesday 17th May on BBC One

The third and final episode of Three Girls airs at 9pm on Thursday 18th May on BBC One

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