Tue, 16 May, 2017
BBC is all set to release a new series named “Three Girls,” based on Rochdale Grooming Gangs, depicting how the gangs used to abuse their power to recruit vulnerable girls in a vicious child prostitution racket forcefully. The BBC Drama series has familiar names such as Maxine Peake playing one of the lead characters.
The series commences on Tuesday, May 16 and is scheduled to air on BBC1. It is a three part series, which would be aired three nights in a row. The story depicts how three girls who were slyly made to have spiked drinks and then sexually abused by Rochdale gang members for close to four years. The allegations on the members accused of abusing the girls were dropped due to lack of credible evidence, and the investigation authorities also dropped any further investigation. It was primarily because the police were flooded with cases of burglaries across the region, and found no credible merit in the case to pursue it further.
However, in due course, the case was reopened for investigation, and the accused members of the gangs were charged and jailed in the year 2012. It led the authorities to realize their mistake and failure, and Rochdale Council, Police Authorities, and Crown Prosecutors, subsequently apologized to the victims, their families, and the public. Rochdale grooming gang leader, Shabir Ahmed, was charged with various counts including child sex offenses and was incarcerated for 19 years.
Shabir Ahmed is a married man with four children, and he peculiarly asked of all his victims to call him “daddy.” He is also charged with raping a girl near his workplace at Heywood Takeaway, where he held the job of a delivery driver. After raping the girl repeatedly, he shared the girl with his other friends to further exploit and abuse the girl sexually. The series aims to highlight the reality of the society we live in, and in part, seeks to create awareness about the existence of such elements in society.
In the BBC Series “Three Girls,” the lead roles of two women who play a pivotal role in ensuring victims the justice they deserve are played by Lesley Sharp and Maxine Peake. Lesley Sharpe plays the role of DC Margaret Oliver. DC Margaret Oliver is the one who resigns from her post at the Greater Manchester Police in disappointment over how the police authorities were handling the case of abuse. Further down the lane, DC Margaret Oliver (Lesley Sharp in series) turns into a whistleblower and makes all the information she had about loosely handling of the case by GMP, public.
The 2012 case of abuse was an eye-opening event for the public as well as the concerned investigative and police authorities, who mostly construed white women in such scenarios as prostitutes. In reality, many of these white working class women and girls are subjected to sexual abuse by gangs, consisting of mostly Asian men. The judge after sentencing the convicted felons said they targeted the white girls mostly because they didn’t belong to their religion or community.
Some other notable cast members in the series include Jill Halfpenny, Paul Kaye, and Lisa Riley, who play the role of girls’ parents. The role of Chief Crown Prosecutor representing the North West, Nazir Afzal, was played by Ace Bhatti. The entire series has been made with active support from the victims as well as their families and is scheduled to be aired for three nights consecutively starting Tuesday, May 16 at 9 PM.
The trailer of the drama series is intriguing, where the character played by Maxine Peake says in a dramatic tone “There’s no such thing as a child prostitute. What there is, is a child who’s being abused.”