Rochdale drama Three Girls most-watched iPlayer show in May

(Left to right) Ruby (Liv Hill), Holly (Molly Windsor), and Amber (Ria Zmitrowicz)
(Left to right) Ruby (Liv Hill), Holly (Molly Windsor), and Amber (Ria Zmitrowicz)
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Three Girls was the most-watched drama on BBC iPlayer in May.

The mini-series – which told the harrowing true story of victims in the Rochdale sexual exploitation ring – averaged a consolidated audience of 8.1 million across its three episodes when it aired in May, a 31.2 per cent share.

Its popularity grew on the catch-up service as more than 9.3 million requests were made across the month to view the show, and the episodes have taken the service's top three slots of most popular programmes.

Away from iPlayer, Three Girls proved a popular watch for young audiences in the 16-34 age bracket, with an average of 1.5 million viewers – 18.5 per cent of the audience – tuning in to each episode.

The first episode of the series has also beaten Sherlock's fourth series opener in the overall iPlayer ratings, and is now the second biggest episode of the year so far on the service.

At 3.4 million requests for that one episode, it is just behind the first outing of Tom Hardy drama Taboo, currently at 4.1 million requests.

BBC's Director of Content Charlotte Moore said: "Three Girls was a brave BBC One drama that took the audience to challenging places and really engaged young viewers.

"I would like to thank the girls for their extraordinary courage in allowing us to tell their story and to the care and attention taken by the programme makers."

Hilary Salmon, the Three Girls executive producer for BBC Studios, added: "Three Girls was made with a real commitment to telling the girls' stories as truthfully as possible and to raising awareness of the issues amongst that age group.

"The fact that the series has resonated with so many people and particularly the young is both satisfying and humbling."

Three Girls stars Maxine Peake, Lesley Sharp and Lisa Riley along with Molly Windsor, Ria Zmitrowicz and Liv Hill who played Holly, Amber and Ruby respectively, three of the victims involved in the case.

In 2012, nine men were jailed for up to 25 years each for sexually exploiting teenage girls in the Rochdale area between 2005 and 2013.