Writer of Three Girls, exploring grooming by Asian men, says she is confident it does not give groups like EDL an opportunity
The writer of a BBC drama exploring the widespread grooming and sexual assault of young women in Rochdale by Asian men has addressed concerns that it could be used by far-right groups to further their racist agenda.
Nicole Taylor, who wrote Three Girls, said that while she accepted that groups such as the English Defence League and other extremists would “hitch their wagon opportunistically to anything”, she felt confident this drama “doesn’t give them an opportunity to do so”.
Taylor said such concerns had occupied her for four years while she carried out the research and interviews for the programme – including speaking to many of the victims, their families and the whistleblowers who fought for years for the exploitation to be taken seriously – but said that it was “not a reason for silence”.
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“It was a story that needed to be told,” says Maxine Peake, emphatically.
“It’s a story about a swathe of society that has been ignored and bullied.”
The actress is referring to Three Girls, a new BBC One drama based on the true stories of victims of grooming and sexual abuse in Rochdale.
Peake plays Sara Rowbotham, the sexual health worker who realised the girls were being abused and reported it to the authorities – and was repeatedly ignored.
“The powers that be weren’t encouraging her, they were shutting doors, they were telling her to be quiet, they weren’t interested,” says Peake, who met the real-life Sara in preparation for the role.
“Nobody seemed interested in helping these girls who were in desperate situations. These were really vulnerable young women – the lack of care for them I found mind-blowing.”