Meet the cast of Three Girls

Who’s who in the BBC’s new true-crime drama following the Rochdale child grooming and sexual abuse scandal


Three Girls is a three-part BBC dramatisation of the Rochdale sexual abuse scandal.


Written by Nicole Taylor (The C Word) and directed by Philippa Lowthorpe (Call the Midwife), it tells the story of three of the children who were victims in the 2012 grooming and sex trafficking case, which made national headlines when it was uncovered by investigative reporter for The Times, Andrew Norfolk.

New to Rochdale, Holly is keen to make friends, but finds herself drawn into a frightening, adult world all too familiar to sexual health worker Sara. As her relationship with her family begins to disintegrate, Holly finds the courage to speak out about the abuse she is suffering.

Maxine Peake as Sara Rowbotham 


A sexual health worker in Rochdale, Sara has been recording and reporting cases of child abuse for years, and helps the girls.

Where do I recognise Maxine Peake from?

She is best known for her role as feisty lawyer Martha Costello in Silk. Peake’s also starred in Dinnerladies, alongside Victoria Wood, and Shameless. And you may have seen her in Criminal Justice and in acclaimed movie The Theory of Everything, in which she played Stephen Hawking’s nurse who he went on to marry.

Lesley Sharp as DC Margaret Oliver


DC Margaret Oliver is a policewoman who is instrumental in getting the girls’ voices heard, she joins forces with Sara Rowbotham.

Where do I recognise Lesley Sharp from?


Sharp played DC Janet Scott in the ITV detective drama Scott & Bailey, and also recently appeared in Paranoid. You might have seen her in Clocking Off and 1997 comedy film The Full Monty.