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Series / Tracy Beaker Returns

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Tracy Beaker Returns (2010-2012) is the sequel to The Story of Tracy Beaker which told the story of Tracy, a headstrong, imaginative girl who grew up in an orphanage after her mother left her there. That is until she met the writer Cam who was only supposed to write an article about the children but ended up fostering Tracy. Fast forward a few years and Tracy borrows Cam's credit card and uses a few thousand pounds to publish an autobiography. To pay back Cam's money, Tracy ends up working at her old home, the "Dumping Ground", and stays on given a chance to leave.


The show ran for 3 seasons with 39 episodes which ended with Tracy leaving the Dumping Ground again. A Spin-Off series entitled The Dumping Ground began airing in 2013 which follows the lives of the kids, both old and new, after Tracy leaves.


  • Ambiguously Brown: Faith.
  • Back Story: Normally a cast member will get one episode dedicated to their character's backstory with why they ended up in care.
  • Best Woman: Tracy ends up as this for Mike at his wedding.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Tracy Beaker Superstar has Tracy being arrested. The Burnywood Menace has Lily almost dying. Slow Burn/The Visitors has two fires at two care homes in quick succession and some new kids with major problems, with lots of screaming and an insensitive social worker.
    • Discussed with Gus and his "Falling List".
    • Series 3, in general, is pretty dark compared to the previous series.
      • The Dumping Ground's season opener Home Alone features grenades. And then, as for the "edgier" part, we have in its following episodes - someone giving birth, theft, locking children in their room, gay fostering, and some more police.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Grandad is full of it.
    • The mention that Cam might foster - she fosters Lily two episodes later. And all the kids being moved to Burnywood at the Series 2 opener - Series 3 reverses this with Burnywood kids being moved to Elmtree.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Many predicted that Melanie, Tracy's replacement in Tracy Beaker Returns, would appear in The Dumping Ground. But she is nowhere to be seen and her absence was never explained.
    • Elektra and Gina vanish in between The Dumping Ground Seasons 1 and 2 with no explanation. As do Faith and Rick between TDG Season 2 and 3 respectively. Word of God said that Gina left after accepting a promotion in order to have more money to care for her mother Hattie, who has dementia, Elektra moved in with her sister Melissa, and Rick moved back in with his mom after she got out of prison. In Series 3, it's revealed that Faith is at university. Joseph later disappears between TDG Seasons 6 and 7 without explanation.
  • Clip Show: The episode "No Escaping" is comprised largely of flashbacks to older episodes showing the development of Tyler and Jody's relationship over the series.
  • Continuity Nod: In the original episode Time Capsule, a time capsule is buried. In the new series episode Shadows, it's dug up and included footage of a younger Tracy from "Hollywood".
    • However, the Time Capsule was buried in Stowey House and they moved to Cliffside in the next series. They all live in Elm Tree House.
    • Justine Littlewood Returns has a Call-Back to Jenny's clothes being stolen. Of course, Jenny's name isn't mentioned, Gina's standing right there (Jenny is actually mentioned one scene later, in relation to this incident). And eating a worm.
  • Darker and Edgier: Especially when compared to The Story of Tracy Beaker. While the first show had its fair share of drama and serious moments, it was an overall lighthearted and comical show. Tracy Beaker Returns however has much more drama and touches on more serious issues and features more dramatic situations, especially later in the series.
  • Deconstruction: Denis deconstructs two ideas: An insensitive careworker who doesn't care about someone with Asperger's Syndrome, and someone who has an incredibly precious item with the idea of leaving all your things behind in a fire. When the two ideas cross, Gus almost dies. note 
  • Egg Sitting: One episode in series three, "Eggs", has this as a plot.
  • Expy: Quite a lot of characters to the original series.
    • Tracy to Nathan. (A young sometimes irresponsible worker that's often the butt of jokes)
    • Johnny and Tee to Lol and Bouncer. (pair of siblings with fostering problems who prefer to do things together and don't like being separated)
    • Liam to Tracy herself. (scammer and head of the Dumping Ground who tends to rebel against the care workers)
    • Johnny alone to Crash. (boy with temper problems)
    • Gus to Marco. (lonely boy with implied autism)
    • Harry to Maxie. (young boy with connection to...
    • Sapphire to Adele. (teenage girl who wants to move into a flat and considers herself more mature than the other kids)
    • Elektra to Amber. (trouble with a gang, stirs up trouble and tends to be a jerk to everyone)
    • The Kettles to the Wellards. (Sisters with massive problems regarding separate fostering, one sister ends up being split apart from the other two)
    • Gina to Jenny. (foreign Distaff Counterpart to Mike, tends to be stern but very reasonable and well-meaning)
    • Gina to Duke. (large friendly care-worker to act as a vaguely responsible adult)
    • Frank to Jackie. (best friends with the head of the Dumping Ground, grandad trouble, touching episode regarding said Grandad's death)
    • Carmen to Louise. (girly girl who wears lots of pink, goes through some Character Development that changes her character)
  • Extra-Long Episode: In each season, the opening two episodes would be broadcast together into an hour-long format and then split into two 30 minute episodes on later airings. This has also happened with the show's spin-off The Dumping Ground. Funnily enough, it is the compilation broadcasts that cut material, while the individual episodes are aired intact.
    • Also Dumping Ground Island, which has parts filmed in Crete.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Council who are responsible for the recurring plots of budget cuts and attempted closures.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: In "Stuck", Sasha gets stuck in one. She acts out more once she figures it out. The solution is to just be nice and end the day without getting grounded.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Tracy becomes a careworker but she's still a rulebreaker who will do what she thinks is best.
  • Idiot Houdini: Subverted in the opening episode of The Dumping Ground. After the kids scrounge together whatever money they have to buy food, with Frank and Tyler being sent to buy it, Frank makes the reckless decision to gamble the money. On his very last go, he wins the jackpot of £1,000. Unfortunately, he can't collect his prize money... because he's under 18.
  • Jerkass: Lily, Johnny, Elektra, Bailey, Ryan, and Floss.
    • Lily later on the series tends to be meaner. Her attitude towards Tee in "Summer Holiday", was somewhat justified, but very horrible.
    • Johnny, whilst not the nicest, definitely took several levels in jerkass in the transition between Tracy Beaker Returns and The Dumping Ground.
    • Elektra is the closest you'll get to a Big Bad in this series, although she is more in the Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory, especially in The Dumping Ground.
    • Ryan is one of the worst, with this really being his primary personality trait. He does get a rare Jerk with a Heart of Gold moment though and has soft spots for Mo and Harry. Later in the series, he mellows out and becomes nicer.
    • Floss tends to be a bratty and manipulative girl who will bribe or blackmail the other kids into giving her sweets/money. Although she could be considered a Jerk with a Heart of Gold as she does tend to learn her lesson sometimes.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Dumping Ground started off with the same tone as Tracy Beaker Returns by covering serious issues and lots of drama. Later seasons toned down some of the drama and added more funny or wacky plots with Zany Schemes or competitions/contests in the care home as a subplot.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: To varying levels; the cast gets fairly big at it's largest. It's not uncommon for a few kids to either just be in the background or completely absent for an episode.
  • Musical Episode: "Joyless Division", complete with dance numbers and no in-universe explanation.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Given the premise of the show it's not unlikely for this. There have, however, been several aversions over the course of the series. These include Tee and Johnny; Faith and her brother Razz; Elektra and her sister Melissa; Lily, Rosie and Poppy and later their baby half brother, Jonah; Sapphire and her brother Riff; Liam and his brother Jack; Jody and her brothers Kingsley and Luke; Kazima and her brother Amir; Ryan and Chloe; Billie and Toni; Sasha, her brother Dexter and two younger siblings; Jay and Bird; Alex and his sister Alice; and Candi-Rose and her sister Lauren.
  • Potty Emergency: Gus during "Anarchy in the DG", when Sapphire had moved the bathroom lock to be fixed onto her bedroom door. Instead, he forces himself to "go" inside Sapphire's bedroom, who trashes Gus's room in retaliation.
  • Put on a Bus: Downplayed - The Story of Tracy Beaker rotated kids a lot, but in Tracy Beaker Returns only 2 of the main kids have permanently left in the new show. Toby and Liam, also Sapphire leaves off-screen before the events of The Dumping Ground.
    • In The Dumping Ground, typically 2 or 3 kids leave the care home a season, followed by the same number of new kids coming to take their place.
    • To a keep a tally of those who have left: Poppy, Rosie, Toby, Liam, Tracy, Sapphire, Gus, Elektra, Gina, Lily, Frank, Rick, Faith, Johnny, Harry, Carmen, Tee, Mo, Bailey, Kazima, Toni, Billie, Dexter, Archie, Joseph, Ryan, Charlie, Mike, and Alex.
  • Retcon: In episode two of Tracy Beaker Returns, "New Life's Eve", Tracy discovers a letter addressed to her from her birth mother in a filing cabinet within the Dumping Ground. It is revealed the letter was written in April 2004, six years earlier (soon after the events of "Tracy Beaker: Movie of Me"). Mike is revealed to have intercepted the letter, and Tracy was unaware of its existence until this moment. However, Mike was not working at the Dumping Ground during this time, as this would have taken place between the events of Series 3 and Series 4 of "The Story of Tracy Beaker". This episode also reveals that Tracy's birth mother never came to see her and Mike and Cam hid the truth from her, even though "Movie of Me" revolves around Tracy's birth mother suddenly turning up to the care home.
    • In episode two of Series 2, "Fallen", it's revealed that a boy maliciously stole Carmen's things and hit her in the face when she asked for them back and in the series premiere of Series 3 "The Visitors", it's revealed to be Tyler, but later in The Dumping Ground Survival Files, Tyler says he did it as a joke.
    • Throughout the series, Tracy claims and acts like she spent her whole time in care at Elm Tree House, however, in The Story of Tracy Beaker, the show mostly took place at Stowey House, before moving to Cliffside in Series 4. The show only took place at Elm Tree House during Series 5, in which Tracy was only there for half the series.
  • Revolving Door Casting: Somewhat justified by being set in a care home. Tracy stays for three series of Returns and Mike for the whole series (minus some of Story of) but most of the kids are in and out during The Dumping Ground. The last of the original Returns cast are gone by the end of Dumping Ground series 4 after Camen and Tee leave. Tyler and Jody are the longest-lasting, from Tracy Beaker Returns series 3 to present (DG series 7), and the only kids left from that series.
    • Most obvious at Mike's wedding, where many of the returning cast members, including Tracy herself don't actually remember each other because they didn't overlap.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: While it was averted in The Story of Tracy Beaker, here it's played straight for both Tracy Beaker Returns and The Dumping Ground. The Dumping Ground is full of kids that are all of school age and none of them ever go to school nor is school ever mentioned. It's not even hand-waved by saying that they are all on the summer holiday; it is almost as if school doesn't exist in this universe. Averted later in the series as some plots are related to school, including one where the kids are all grounded for the day until they finish their homework.
  • Sixth Ranger: Elektra.
  • Teenage Wasteland: In the two-part first episode of The Dumping Ground, Mike goes on holiday and Gina ends up in hospital shortly after he leaves after a grenade explodes, meaning that for several days the kids are completely without adult supervision - hilarity (and drama) ensues.
  • The Bus Came Back: Quite a few times given the number of characters they have to draw from.
    • Tracy Beaker Returns: Justine Littlewood in "Justine Littlewood Returns" so Mike will be in her wedding.
    • The Dumping Ground:
      • Series 2: Liam for a web-miniseries titled "Liam's Story" following his life a few years after leaving the care home and "Face the Music", wrapping up his and Frank's arcs and Frank leaving to live with him.
      • Series 3: Faith in "Better Than You" to stay at the DG for a few days and Frank in "Refuge" when Kazima runs away to his and Liam's flat.
      • Series 4: Harry in "One for Sorrow" to see Carmen and Tee off.
      • Series 5: Tee, Johnny, Elektra and Frank in "#SaveTheDG"/"What Lies Beneath", helping to save Ashdene Ridge.
      • Series 6: Lily in "Wasters", now running a cafe. Tracy in "To Have and Not to Hold", plus Lily, Tee, Frank, Liam, Bailey, Toni and Billie in "Missing Presumed Single", all for Mike's wedding.
  • Toilet Humour: There's a massive fart in Money. It's never stated who did it though, it's completely irrelevant to the plot, and at the time, it's ignored by the characters.
    • Out 160 episodes of the show (including the original and The Movie) currently aired, only four episodes have this - a dog poo in the old series, plastic poo in Slow Burn and the real poo in Drained.
  • Unexplained Accent: Johnny and Tee are siblings and grew up together, he has a Yorkshire accent and hers is RP.
  • Villain Ball: Most of the kids pick this up in "Family Values".
  • Webisode: A few, typically with a very small selection of the cast.
    • "Floss The Foundling:" a crossover with Hetty Feather. Floss has a dream that she is in the Foundling Hospital, meets Hetty, gets bullied by Sheila and Elizabeth, and yelled at and chased by Matron.
    • "Sasha's Contact Meeting:" Sasha has a meeting with her social worker about her life after she leaves care.
    • "After The DG": Follows Elektra and Bailey's lives after leaving the Dumping Ground. Slightly stretches the definition by being mostly on Instagram.
    • "The Joseph & Taz Files:" Joseph and Taz try to find a ghost.
  • Wedding Day: The series six finale for Mike and Fiona. It's eventful, with Charlie's granddad dying, May-Li giving birth in the middle of the woods, Ryan smashing the cake and running away, Mike looking for him (without telling everyone else, thus also being labeled missing), and Fiona disappearing briefly thinking Mike has given up on her.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Did Tracy repay Cam? We will never know.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: For quite some time, the show took place in the fictional "Pottiswood", which was ambiguously placed not too far South. The mishmash of accents all the kids have does not help matters. However, by The Dumping Ground Season 4, Pottiswood was revealed to be near Newcastle, where the series is filmed.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Jody and Tyler. They do, but realize they can't both stay at the DG if they're a proper couple so stay separate for the time being.
  • Zany Scheme: The kids involved in the main subplot usually are doing this. Appears frequently in the later seasons of The Dumping Ground.


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