The Story of Tracy Beaker
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|14 February 1991|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Followed by||The Dare Game|
The book is told from the point of view of Tracy Beaker, a very naughty ten-year-old girl. The reason Tracy is often unhappy and has problems with her behaviour is because she is lonely, frustrated and feels unloved. Tracy resides in a children's residential care home (nicknamed "The Dumping Ground") where she has been placed as a result of neglect. Her mother often left Tracy to stay by herself when Tracy was very young and does not appear to have an interest in her daughter's life. Tracy is unhappy because she has not had any contact with her mother for a long time. She has difficulty getting along with the staff and the other children at the care home, (especially a girl named Justine Littlewood). Another reason Tracy is frustrated and angry is because she was rejected by two couples who attempted to foster her.
From an adult's point of view, Tracy has "behavioural problems" and she is always telling tales. Tracy's stories seem to provide a high level of comfort and security for her. For example, a recurring story that Tracy likes to tell is that her mother is a glamorous Hollywood movie star, and that she is coming to collect her someday. Tracy says that her mother is so busy being in films that she does not have time for Tracy. Among other things, Tracy's autobiography details her life so far, her being "deprived and abused" in the children's home (for example, she is deprived of Mars Bars and Smarties) and the types of revenge she would like to take upon her enemies. She is very imaginative and believes that her mum will come home one day. She often portrays a deep and complicated mind.
In 2002 the book was voted the winner of the Blue Peter People's Choice Award. Jacqueline Wilson has written three sequels to the book, The Dare Game, Starring Tracy Beaker, and Tracy Beaker's Thumping Heart (a Red Nose Day Special).
The Story of Tracy Beaker
A TV adaptation of the book was made by the BBC. There have so far been five series of the TV programme, which mainly airs on CBBC, starring Dani Harmer in the role of Tracy Beaker. Montanna Thompson plays Justine Littlewood, Tracy's worst enemy, and Nisha Nayar plays her social worker, Elaine 'the pain' Boyak. There are many characters in the TV adaptation that do not feature in the book itself. The TV adaptation has several series, and towards the end, some episodes do not feature Tracy. The TV programmes expand on the lives of the children's daily affairs, whereas the book ends with Cam fostering Tracy and her living happily ever after. In the TV program, Tracy has disagreements with Cam and ends up back in the children's home but maintains a strong relationship with Cam. Cam gets married to Gary at the end of the series, and the last we see of Tracy is when she is talking to Justine on the steps of the children's home, after being told she will be adopted by them. Having heard this, Justine decides to give living with her dad another go.
Tracy Beaker Returns
A new series of Tracy Beaker entitled Tracy Beaker Returns began on 8 January 2010. It had 13 episodes. A second series was also announced by the BBC. It began on 7 January 2011 and concluded on 25 March 2011. It also had 13 episodes. A third series started on 6 January 2012 and concluded on 23 March 2012. It had 13 episodes. Series 3 was the final series of Tracy Beaker Returns, as Dani Harmer left the series.
The Dumping Ground
The Dumping Ground is a spin-off to Tracy Beaker Returns, which started in January 2013. It has an extremely similar format to Tracy Beaker Returns, with the only difference being that Tracy no longer features in the series. The only character in The Dumping Ground who featured in the original novel is Mike, a care worker at the children's home, although his characterisation has changed a lot from the book – in the TV series he is shown to be an amazingly kind care worker who understands all the children, whereas in the novel not much is revealed about him, and he is only mentioned in passing a few times by Tracy. The only departed character shown in the series was Gus Carmichael (Noah Marullo) as he gets fostered by a lesbian couple
Tracy Beaker Gets Real
In 2006, Tracy Beaker Gets Real, a musical version of The Story of Tracy Beaker, toured up and down Britain in various theatres.