If you watched the BBC’s harrowing real-life drama Three Girls earlier this week then you’ll be familiar with Sara Rowbotham, the social worker played by Maxine Peake who worked tirelessly to expose the widespread sexual abuse of girls in Rochdale between 2008 and 2012.
Maxine Peake in Three Girls and the real Sara, right
But you might have been surprised to see the REAL Sara turn up on last night’s First Dates, with the 50-year-old heading to the Channel 4 show to find love after years of campaigning and work while single.
— First Dates ❤️ (@FirstDates) May 23, 2017
Speaking about her rage at how long the sexual abuse went on before anything was done – “I just became a big fire ball, I was really angry,” she said – Sara quickly gained support from viewers, who were keen to see a real-life hero find romance.
Sara Rowbotham is on #firstdates I hope she finds the love she deserves. What an amazing woman ❤️
— Laura (@Lauraathertonxo) May 23, 2017
— Gabz ???????????????? (@ybz4) May 23, 2017
#FirstDates Sara who saved the Rochdale girls ???? she deserves love x
— ROSIE.F. (@rosiefrost) May 23, 2017
If anyone deserves to find love & happiness its Sara after what she done to try & bring justice for the girls abused in Rochdale #FirstDates
— Jo (@Ge_l_t_yJo) May 23, 2017
— ✨ Leanne O’Connor ✨ (@l_oc81) May 23, 2017
— Lu ☽ ✺ (@cabinlu) May 23, 2017
Sadly, in this week’s episode Sara didn’t find her soulmate – she and date Nicky, a dog trainer, just decided to stay friends instead – but we’re sure she’ll have more luck in the future. And if nothing else, she’ll have plenty of love from the UK’s TV viewers.
— matt wilkinson (@matthewilkinson) May 23, 2017
— Ellie Dearn (@EllieDearn) May 23, 2017
If anyone deserves to be happy for the rest of their life, it's Sara Rowbotham. #FirstDates
— Cal (@Panayisalad) May 23, 2017
First Dates continues on Channel 4 on Tuesdays at 10:00pm