The story about the murder of an 11-year-old boy, Rhys Jones in Croxteth, Liverpool, in 2007 and his parents, Melanie's and Steve's ordeal, and how Rhys's murderer and associates were eventually brought to justice.
Brían F. O'Byrne,
Father Michael, a Catholic priest presiding over a Northern urban parish who is Modern, maverick, and reassuringly flawed; must be confidant, counsellor and confessor to a congregation ... See full summary »
As she deals with an unexpected pregnancy, D.I. Helen Weeks must return to the hometown she loathes to help her childhood best friend, who finds herself at the centre of a media frenzy following the abduction of two teenage girls.
Uncomfortable but well made and acted dramatisation
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
In the Yorkshire town of Rochdale, a series of girls with chaotic home lives were sexually abused over a number of years by a group of Pakistani men who operated from a takeaway store in the city, but were never challenged by those in authority for fear of being branded racist. Despite years of concerns being raised by many, including health care worker Sara Rowbotham (Maxine Peake), a series of institutional failings by police, social workers and local authorities led to the perpetrators being allowed to get away with it for years, even with one trial collapsing due to lack of evidence, before a successful trial went ahead.
In order to achieve the fairly cohesive multicultural society we live in today, many laws were passed in order to prevent discrimination and prejudice based on religious, racial, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, which were pretty successful in their aims and formed a defensive, concrete wall around those who held on to such negative attitudes and their freedom to employ them in any capacity. But while they worked well to eliminate much of the racism around, there have been instances where these new mind sets were terribly subverted, especially by those in charge, where the protective wall of anti racism was abused by those it was meant to protect, never more horrifically than in Rochdale and several other Yorkshire towns, which this drama delves into.
I happened to tune in to The Big Question last Sunday morning, and one of the topics that came up was the inexplicable question of whether white people could ever be victims of racism? Certain (non white, funnily enough) audience members had some pretty jaw dropping reasons why they couldn't, but this case certainly served to raise the bar on the issue, with these poor, emotionally neglected, not terribly well educated young girls being targeted for what appeared to be cultural reasons by large groups of Asian men, who saw them as inferior because of the way they behaved and their apparent lack of values. Surely this serves to challenge this mind set.
The portrayal of the girls by the young actresses involved is highly convincing and well done, even if they are perhaps inevitably out shined by established actress Peake, and in more background roles those depicting the predatory attackers also do well. There is a not terribly subtle nod to the 2015 Hollywood drama Spotlight when the full scale and amount of towns where the abuse took place is revealed. ****
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