17/05/2017 10:53 BST

'Three Girls' Whistleblower Sara Rowbotham To Appear On 'First Dates'

She campaigned for years.

‘Three Girls’ depicts the story of her decade-long struggle to get justice for  young girls sexually abused in Rochdale, but now it seems Sara Rowbotham has her eye on a more personal prize.

The former sexual health worker, depicted by Maxine Peake in the harrowing drama currently being shown on BBC One, is to appear in Channel 4’s romance show ‘First Dates’.

Sara won’t be hiding the details of her gruelling past when she appears in the series finale on 23 May, even telling her date how she was forced to become a whistleblower and reveal the extent of the abuse she witnessed.

Channel 4
Sara Rowbotham will appear in the series finale of 'First Dates'

She also tells the show what lies behind her decision to appear:

“I’m coming out of a very difficult, dark time. I’m ready to start to live my life again where I haven’t been for such a long time. And be able to just have nice times and not be so stressed or worried or anxious or angry. To be carefree.”

Sara is now a local councillor, after taking redundancy from the welfare service where she struggled for so long.

Maxine Peake spoke recently of her meeting with Sara, and her decision to take the part. She said:

It was really important to meet her. I knew she was open to being spoken to. I went to meet her and we hit it off as soon as I walked in the room. I thought, ‘This is someone I’ve got to play,’ and we’ve stayed in touch since.

“For me it was the aftermath, finding out how horrifically she was treated, as is often the case with whistleblowers, because she’d highlighted problems with the workings.

Maxine Peake plays Sara in 'Three Girls'

“[Sara] had been working with HIV patients, and that had got overwhelming for her, and she’d moved to working in sexual health with young girls.

“She was more frustrated, because of the injustice that was happening to these young girls, and she was constantly fighting, constantly being told to shut up.

“People weren’t helping her, they were constantly telling her to keep quiet. She was doing this work on her own, to a point, and nobody seemed interested in helping these young girls, really vulnerable young women, in desperate situations. I find the lack of care mind-blowing.”

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

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