Critical Condition: Three Girls

Three Girls | Lightbox, from Wednesday

☆☆☆☆ Three Girls powerfully encompasses the real-life scandal surrounding the sexual abuse of teenage girls in Rochdale – and the authorities’ initial failure to protect them.  In 2011, an investigation by Andrew Norfolk for The Times exposed the sexual grooming, mostly of white girls aged around 12 or 13, by gangs of middle-aged men, mostly of Pakistani origin.” — Radio Times.

☆☆☆☆ “All I can say about Three Girls is that if it is this tough for a stranger to watch their lives being retold on TV, then I cannot imagine the traumas those girls and their families went through. I have rarely had to watch anything as emotionally charged, and which is also so upsettingly well grounded in reality.” — Independent.

☆☆☆☆ Three Girls will be seized on by opportunists seeking to denigrate British Muslim culture. It can’t have been easy for a talented group of actors to say yes to playing groomers and rapists, so credit to Simon Nagra as ‘Daddy’ and Wasim Zakir as Tariq, who picked up the girls from school and, anaesthetising them with vodka, taxied them to the abyss. Another script, however, might have had more nuanced curiosity about the culprits.” — The Telegraph.

☆☆☆☆ “More than once, it was suggested that the police were reluctant to investigate Asian men for fear of encouraging racism. Yet if the BBC was scared of the same thing (and my guess is that it must have been) the finished programme was courageous enough to present the criminals’ ethnicity as simply an indisputable if uncomfortable fact.” — The Spectator.

☆☆☆ “This was another incursion by the Beeb into the real-life miseries of the lower working class: event TV made to render justice and lightly moralise. With good reason, admittedly … This was the dramatisation of a slow and painful grind, a charting of deadlock and failure. As a document, it was noble; as drama, a little dull.” — The Times.

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