Sunday, 21 May 2017

Three Girls; A Difficult, but Worthwhile Watch

A Bristol Street with Title OverlaidI thought about whether or not to watch this three part drama for so long, all three parts were available on iPlayer by the time I got around to it. I knew it was always going to be a difficult watch, but in the end, I felt I owed it to them, after everything they went through, to at least hear their story. Which might sound daft, but there it is. If, like me, you are struggling with whether or not to give it a go, whether it will be too much, or too graphic, I wanted to give you my take on it, now that I've seen it. I think it's very important viewing, as it happens. Here's what I learned. Oh, and I'm going to try and write this with no spoilers, I'll come back and let you know how that worked out when I've finished. Edit: Nailed it!

The problem I have, is that, despite being generally rock-hard and pretty much unmovable when it comes to tear-jerkers, my fiercely strong maternal instinct means I really struggle to watch anything that involves children. I've always been the same, I just want to hug them and make things better, even when they are getting into trouble or tearing up the place! So, I made Phil watch it first. Wimp that I am. I was really concerned that it would be very graphic and violent, considering the nature of the subject. He assured me there was only one graphic scene and, when I watched it myself, I felt it was filmed as sensitively as possible. You can tell what is happening, but you don't actually see much, although the acting from the young girl is incredible, so it is uncomfortable to watch from an emotional perspective. That is the first thing I noticed from the very start, the actors are all exceptional. There are a lot of quality names in there, such as Maxine Peake, Jill Halfpenny, Lesley Sharp, and Jason Hughes, who I loved in Midsomer Murders. The young girls really stole the show, though. The actresses were older than the girls they played, for obvious reasons, but the characters were completely believable and the emotions they portayed throughout the show were heartwrenching. 

If you don't know the story, it centres around events that took place in the Rochdale area, where young girls were systematically groomed by a group of men for the purposes of sexual abuse and trafficking and how this was handled by police and social services at the time. It's a true story and what struck me most about it, was how easily these young girls were led into this life. It really made me realise how vulnerable children can be, even when they seem grown up and streetwise. The BBC put up a statement at the start of the drama which read. "This is a true story. What follows is based on extensive research, interviews and published accounts." So, it was clear that a lot of effort had gone into providing an accurate version of events and that was hard to take at times. It was hard to imagine what those poor girls had gone through and, presumably will continue to go through, as the emotional scars are still there. The drama was very indepth in the way it examined the different facets of everything that went on. How the girls got involved, how the families reacted (Lisa Riley and Paul Kaye were stunning in their portrayals as parents to the girls) and how the situation developed with the involvement of various agencies. Despite knowing the outcome, from watching it on the news at the time, I could never have imagined how it unfolded or what it took to bring the perpetrators to justice. I feel it is absolutely a must watch for anyone who has young girls, I had no idea how easy it was for those young people to find themselves in such a terrifying and horrific situation and it shows that we can never do too much to try to protect youngsters, not just by knowing where our own are, but by looking out for signs of abuse in others. After you've watched it, you might want to check out this petition, for the recognition of Sara Rowbotham (Maxine Peake's character) who was central to the whole story, yet received no acknowledgement for her efforts and was made redundant two years later. If you have seen it already, or are planning to catch it on iPlayer, we'd love to know what you thought in the comments. 



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16 comments

  1. I really appreciate you writing this. I had read a lot about the series in the run up and seen a few clips on TV... but I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle watching it. I am an emotional person at the best of times. I'm still undecided on whether to watch it; like you say, I feel like we owe it to the girls and Sara to support what they went through... and so that we are better-equipped to protect our children and so that society as a whole does not allow anything like this to be pushed under the carpet again. x

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  2. I will also have to make myself watch this and then decide whether to get my young teen daughter to watch it. It's a hard call as you want to protect them by both not exposing them to the horrible things that happen but also by giving them the knowledge that they do.

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  3. I agree it was such a hard watch, but an important one nonetheless. Hopefully it has opened up conversations with vulnerable young adults and the importance of certain individuals.

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  4. I watched it over the three nights last week. It was fantastically done and the actors were amazing. It really does make me worry about my girls as they get older. x

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  5. This is my first time hearing of it but what an important look into sexual abuse and trafficking. As someone who was abused as a child it might be a trigger for me to watch it but nevertheless I applaud them for bringing the girls story forward. How awful x

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  6. I watched this and it was awful to think this probably goes on every day somewhere in the uk :(

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  7. omg I didn't know about this...it's terrible that these sort of things happens and it's really important to grow awareness among young people. good post! x

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  8. I have totally missed this but thinking I will try to catch it on iplayer having read this!

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  9. I have not seen but I will look out for it. I want to watch it.

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  10. I watched it too. I'm glad it was handled sensitively and not sensationalised.

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  11. I feel people owe to the girl"s bravery to watch this, but it is difficult. I ended up in tears, twice.

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  12. I haven't watched it yet. I am tempted but I know it will be hard viewing!

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  13. I haven't watched this and don't think I will despite your review as I don't enjoy real life dramas. I hope the programme raises awareness and helps victims feel supported

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  14. Sounds like a harrowing watch, not something I would enjoy although great for raising awareness

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  15. I have not watched this show yet, I keep hearing about it on social media though. I think I really should watch it, especially as I have a teen girl of my own x

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  16. I think I only caught the last episode of this - it definitely wasn't the first and may not have been the last but it featured the trial. It was a harrowing watch and it's scary to think these things actually do happen, but it's good that there's so much awareness being raised for this issue at the moment.

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