Maxine Peake and Lesley Sharp will star in BBC Rochdale abuse drama Three Girls

Maxine Peake
(Image credit: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock)

Maxine Peake will star alongside Lesley Sharp in a new BBC1 drama based on the Rochdale sex abuse scandal

Maxine Peake will star alongside Lesley Sharp in a new BBC1 drama based on the Rochdale sex abuse scandal.

The three-part series, Three Girls, which has just started filming, will explore how the victims were groomed and how their accounts of abuse were initially ignored. Maxine Peake (pictured) and Lesley Sharp will play two women who finally listen to their harrowing accounts.

Paul Kaye, Lisa Riley and Jill Halfpenny will also star alongside Maxine and Lesley, as the parents of the girls, who have given their support to the drama.

Former EastEnders actor Ace Bhatti will play Nazir Afzal, the former chief crown prosecutor for the north-west who has also worked as a consultant on Three Girls, which has been three years in the planning.

"Whatever I thought I knew about what had happened in Rochdale, I knew nothing until I met the girls and their families," says Nicole Taylor, the show’s writer, whose previous credits include Sheridan Smith drama The C Word.

"Listening to them was the beginning of understanding – not just of the terrible suffering they experienced but of the courage it took to persist and persist over years, in telling authorities who didn’t want to know, and ultimately participate in the court proceedings that brought justice.'

The real-life girls were groomed and sexually abused for five years between 2008 and 2012 and nine men have since been convicted and sentenced.


Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.