Dani Harmer has been playing the role of Tracy Beaker for ten years. Find out what growing up as the famous children's character has been like and what she has learnt from the experience.
What's it like being back as Tracy for the new series?
“It’s great. I’m loving being back at the Dumping Ground as one of the grown-ups. I think when Tracy first went to work there she thought she knew it all and she got a bit of a shock! But she’s really settled in as one of the adults now, and she’s much better at her job – although she does tend to empathise with the children more than the grown-ups and manages to get into a lot of trouble along the way, of course!”
You've grown up as Tracy. How have you managed that process?
“Yeah, I was 12 when I started playing Tracy and I’m 22 now, so it has been a while! And my hair is a lot less curly! It has been amazing growing up with Tracy. I guess sometimes when we were growing up we were going through the same things at the same time – but hopefully handling it differently! She was never naughty on purpose though. I think she had the best motives for what she did, and she still does, and that’s what makes kids really identify with her.”
You still seem to get on well with the kids in the show – is that right?
“They’re great and I love working with them. We have such a laugh on set, and I hope I’m helpful to them – I’ve been in their position so know what it’s like to juggle school work and everything all at once. It’s hard work, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world, and I know the other kids feel the same too.”
Can you give us any secrets about what we can expect from series three?
“Oh wow, so much happens! We have a few new characters this time around and a lot of drama...oh and stray dogs and rampaging sheep! All in a day’s work for Tracy!”
Do you enjoy filming in the north east?
“I love it. The people are so warm and friendly – it’s like our second home.”
What’s the secret of the success of Tracy Beaker Returns?
“I think one of the best things about Tracy Beaker Returns is that we tackle such a wide range of subjects in our stories. It’s a real rollercoaster of a show. We can look at issues such as friendship, bullying, body image and generally finding your place in the world, but also the writers really know how to do comedy and when I read the scripts I do sometimes laugh out loud. There’s such a strong, talented team associated with the show and I think that’s the key to its sustained success. I feel really proud to be part of it.”
How do you think Tracy has changed over the years?
“Apart from the hair? Erm, she’s grown up a lot, but she’s still the same Tracy deep down. She gets caught up in lots of mayhem and chaos, but at the end of the day she means well and is loveable.”
Which three words would you use to describe the new series?
“Fast, fun and feisty!”