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  • Three_Girls_accepted_140619

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in Journal of British Cinema and Television. The Version of Record is available online at:

    Accepted author manuscript, 777 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Three (Working-class) Girls: Social Realism, the ‘At-risk’ Girl and Alternative classed Subjectivities

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Forthcoming
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/06/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of British Cinema and Television
Publication statusAccepted/In press
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article focuses on the BBC One three-part drama Three Girls, broadcast in July 2017, which dramatized the Rochdale child sex-grooming gang scandal of 2011 and won 5 BAFTAs in 2018. Whilst many of the dominant press narratives focused on the ethnicity of the perpetrators, few accounts of the scandals spoke to the need for a sustained public discussion of the class location of the victims. This article considers how the process of recognising the social problem is set up for the audience through a particular mode of address. In many ways the drama rendered visible the structural conditions that provided the context for this abuse by drawing on the expanded repertoires of television social realism: the representation of the town as abuser; the championing of heroic working-class women; and the power of working-class vernacular. However, ultimately, the narrative marginalises the type of girl most likely to be the victim of this form of sexual abuse. By focusing on the recognisable journey of the girl ‘who can be saved’ this renders the poor girl as already constitutive of the social problem. The analysis draws attention to the difficulties of recognising alternative classed subjectivities on television because of the way boundary-markers are placed between the working-class and the poor and suggests that the consequence of these representations is to reify ideas about the victims of poverty and exploitation.

Bibliographic note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in Journal of British Cinema and Television. The Version of Record is available online at: