Lisa Riley was visibly choked up today as she spoke apart her role in the BBC drama Three Girls.
The mini- =series – which reaches its conclusion tonight – recounts the terrible abuse inflicted on underage girls in Rochdale at the hand of a sex grooming ring in the years leading up to 2012.
The teenagers were subsequently failed by the authorities who initially didn’t listen when they found the courage to speak out.
Loose Women panellist Lisa plays the mother of two of the victims.
The 40-year-old vividly recalls the effect that news of the real-life grooming had on her.
“I’m from Manchester, Rochdale is 11 miles from my home,” explained the former Emmerdale star.
“I remember the period of time completely. I remember distinctly when I was younger growing up as a teenager in high school I was told never get in a taxi by yourself.
“Me and my friends would clump together for safety.
“Obviously that’s a hard thing to think about, but that’s where I lived in the north.”
She continued: “We had three and a half months last August filming it.
“It cocooned my life. I got angry and I got more angry.
“I remember the day when we met with the director and the phenomenal team, and when you read the script and every word is true.
“As an actor, you’re playing a part, but this is the truth. And you feel yourself going, ‘That can’t possibly have happened.’
“It’s important that the BBC took a chance because it could have gone one of two ways.
“I’m so honoured to have been able to play the part of Lorna and to give these girls a voice.
“Because no one believed them, no one. And the evidence was there.”
The panel was joined by Maggie Oliver, the former detective that helped expose the sex ring – portrayed in the drama by the peerless Lesley Sharp.
Clearly still angry about the delay in investigating these horrific crimes, she said: “I believe senior police officers should be held accountable for failing to act.”