ENTERTAINMENT

'Three Girls' Review: The 10 Most Heartbreaking Moments In Episode 2 Of Rochdale Sexual Abuse Drama

Lisa Riley's performance is extraordinary.

17/05/2017 22:59 BST | Updated 17/05/2017 23:00 BST

‘Three Girls’ continued with the police’s very belated attempts to hunt down the perpetrators of teenage sexual abuse in Rochdale, and the resentment they caused among the victims and their families, as well as whistleblower Sara Rowbotham - not believed, ignored, told to shut up, for so many years. 

Among many moving moments in this second episode, these were particularly striking...

1. When Lisa Riley’s teenage daughter Ruby - afflicted with learning difficulties exploited by the men who abused her - found out she was pregnant and her first thought was that her mother was going to punch her. Lisa Riley’s performance in this drama is nothing short of extraordinary. 

BBC
Amber Riley plays Lorna Bowen, a mother tormented by what's happened to her daughters Ruby and Amber

2. When Paul Kaye’s devastated father realised his daughter’s case wasn’t going to go to court, due to the lack of belief that Holly would be believed.

3. Holly’s reporting that he had “joined BNP, then left it again”. Such despair trying to find an outlet. 

4. When DC Margaret Oliver (Lesley Sharp, another great performance) asked Sara Rowbotham (Maxine Peake) for her help, only to open the door on the full vent of the latter’s years of frustrations about the girls - “raped, beaten, ignored, raped, beaten, ignored” before being summarily dismissed...

5. … before Sara helped anyway, wordlessly providing the files. 

BBC
Sara Rowbotham (Maxine Peake)'s frustration was evident

6. Margaret Oliver telling the other members of the force that their attitude to the girls is the obstacle. “This isn’t rocket silence. We say we’re sorry.”

7. Sara Rowbotham talking to Holly, who told her it all happened years ago. “Does it feel like years ago?” Sara asked her. 

8. Holly’s despair when her baby was taken away, and her father’s equal helplessness.

9. Ruby’s insistence that she’d been in a loving relationship - even though she was 13, and her perpetrator was nearly 40 with a family.

10. Ruby’s confusion about her foetus, and her mother’s gentleness even as she struggled to deal with the horror of what had happened to her daughter.

‘Three Girls’ continues this week. Catch up on BBCiPlayer.

Three Girls