BBC drama Three Girls denies pushing 'far-right agenda'

Controversial three-part series about Rochdale child abuse case described as one of TV's toughest watches

Three Girls
Liv Hill, Molly Windsor and Ria Zmitrowicz as Ruby, Holly and Amber in BBC1's Three Girls
(Image credit: BBC/Ewen Spencer)

The writer of BBC drama Three Girls, which examines the 2012 Rochdale child abuse scandal, has denied claims it could be used by far-right groups to stoke racism.

Speaking to The Guardian, Nicole Taylor said such groups would "hitch their wagon opportunistically to anything" but she was confident her drama "doesn't give them an opportunity to do so".

She added: "I felt very strongly, from beginning to end, that there is a significant benefit in airing this story and I still feel that."

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Three Girls, which stars Maxine Peake as whistleblowing social worker, tells the story of the widespread grooming of young women by a group of Asian men in Rochdale between 2008-2012.

Nine men were convicted of child sex trafficking offences and sentenced to between four and 19 years in prison after dozens of girls, many of them in foster care, were abused.

Judge Gerald Clifton said the fact the girls "were not part of your community or religion", something that had led the men to treat them "as though they were worthless and beyond respect".

However, he rejected the idea that case itself was religiously or racially motivated, saying: "What triggered this prosecution was your lust and greed."

Taylor said she hoped the drama, which was made with the full cooperation of the victims and their families, would provoke a "wider discussion" about how the abuse was able to continue unpunished for so long, and why the authorities were so quick to ignore the victims.

Peake said that the drama focussed on the victims, rather than the abusers.

"It's a story that needed to be told about a swathe of society that's ignored, bullied and shipped off to one side," she told the BBC.

The "lack of care" shown towards the girls as they were being exploited was "mind-blowing", she added.

BBC entertainment correspondent Tim Masters warns: "Three Girls isn't an easy watch, although it is never prurient or sensational."

Three Girls runs over three nights on BBC1, starting Tuesday 16 May.

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