BBC’s ‘Three Families’ Shows How the Fight For Abortion Rights in the UK Continues

Sian Norris
14 May 2021

The BBC drama
Three Families told the story of the fight to decriminalise abortion in
Northern Ireland from the perspectives of three women, all based on real-life

The first focused on a mother who faced criminal prosecution for purchasing
abortion pills online for her 15-year-old daughter who was in an abusive
relationship. The second followed a woman whose baby had a fatal foetal
abnormality but was still forced to carry it to term. The final woman’s baby
also had a fatal foetal abnormality. She died in the womb and the mother was


Three Families review – a surface-level study of abortion anguish

Gwyneth Hughes’s drama about women affected by draconian anti-termination laws in Northern Ireland was emotive but ultimately superficial

Lucy Mangan
Mon 10 May 2021

It was only a couple of years ago, I’d warrant, that the majority of people in Great Britain became aware of the fact that, although the 1967 Abortion Act has permitted the termination of unwanted pregnancies for the past 50-odd years, its remit never extended to Northern Ireland. An extraordinary grassroots campaign (#RepealtheEighth) to give the country’s women the same rights that exist in England culminated in Westminster forcing the decriminalisation of the procedure in 2019.

Gwyneth Hughes’s drama Three Families (BBC One) began in 2013 and took in the situation at the time, and the fight for liberalisation of the law, through a series of personal rather than political lenses. The trio of narratives were based on Hughes’s interviews with three women whose lives were altered by the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.


N.Ireland – Three Families reveals true tales of ‘abortion’

Many of the best TV dramas have been inspired by real life events.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 9th May 2021

Later this week, BBC Two will broadcast Danny Boy, which tells the story of soldier Brian Wood, whose actions during the Iraq war were controversially called into question.

But BBC One gets in on the act early with a new two-part series (it concludes on Tuesday) originally entitled When It Happens To You, which was first announced back in 2019, just as Northern Ireland was about to make a momentous alteration to one of its laws.


N. Ireland – Women must have choice of abortion, says TV star

Dublin actress takes part in a new BBC drama which explores the emotive subject

Maureen Coleman
May 03 2021

A lead actress in an upcoming BBC drama about abortion has said that services must be provided for women in Northern Ireland who feel that a termination is the right choice for them.

Bafta nominee Sinead Keenan, who stars in Three Families, said women must be afforded the right to choose.


Writer of BBC drama Three Families ‘amazed’ at Northern Ireland’s abortion laws

Tom Horton
May 02 2021

The writer of a new drama which focuses on abortion in Northern Ireland has said she was "amazed" to discover how many women from the region travel to England to undergo the procedure.

Gwyneth Hughes' two-part series Three Families, starring Irish actress Sinead Keenan, is set between 2013 and 2019, and tells the true story of three women and their families before the recent change to legislation.