If you watched ‘Three Girls’, the harrowing true-to-life BBC drama about the Rochdale sexual abuse scandal, you may have been left wondering what some of the characters in the three-part series are like in real life.
It turns out, one of the heroes of the story, sexual health worker Sara Rowbotham, may already be familiar to you.
Rowbotham, who was played by Maxine Peake in the series, appeared as a memorable single lady in the ‘First Dates’ restaurant.
The 50-year-old told the barman that she was looking for “somebody nice” and a “girl”.
“There isn’t very much of a gay scene in Rochdale,” she went on to say. “It’s kind of part-time gay.”
“You’re allowed to be gay every other Sunday. There will be one pub that opens and it will call itself ‘gay night’.
“Very slim pickings in Rochdale. There are some quite scary women I have to say. [They] often play rugby.
“I’m a working class northern woman so I want somebody who’s a bit street. You’ve got to have that edge, and really look as if they could kick your face in.”
Her date? Nicky, a 47-year-old Dutch dog trainer.
During the evening, the pair bonded over several things, including Sara’s clever Yorkie-cross dog.
Sara admitted she had been single for a long time because of her commitment to her job. She opened up to Nicky about the exploitation case.
— First Dates (@FirstDates) May 23, 2017
“Children told me that they were being sexually abused every day and that went on for almost ten years before anybody did anything,” she told her.
“I feel as if I’m just coming out of a very difficult dark time,” Sara told the ‘First Dates’ camera.
“I’m ready to start to live my life again where I haven’t been for such a long time. And just be able to have nice times, and not be so stressed or worried or anxious or angry. Carefree.”
She went on to talk about the drama ‘Three Girls’, which at the time had not yet started filming, even suggesting that she should get Cindy Crawford to play her in it.
Sadly, the spark wasn’t there, and the pair decided to leave the restaurant as friends after the meal. But at least Sara was once again heard and understood. She’ll always be a hero in our eyes.