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‘I watched Tracy Beaker for the first time at 22 and I don’t understand the hype’

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'I watched Tracy Beaker for the first time at 22 and I don't understand the hype'

I didn’t grow up in England, which means that I missed out on a lot of quintessential British TV like EastEnders, The Only Way Is Essex and of course, The Story of Tracy Beaker.

I read Jacqueline Wilson’s first Tracy Beaker book, on which the CBBC show is based, when I was young but I have no memory of it other than knowing somewhere deep down that Tracy was in a care home and thought her mother to be glamorous.

Now, with the return of this iconic British character to our television screens in My Mum Tracy Beaker, I thought it was time for me to see what the hype was all about.

Admittedly, this show is for kids, so being 22 means I’m not their target demographic. But, nevertheless, I opened up BBC iPlayer and started from the beginning.

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My first thought is that Tracy is a bit of a brat, but understandably so.

She has behavioural issues, according to social worker Elaine the Pain, from being abandoned and so she tries to glamorise her life and stay in control so she won’t be abandoned again.

I’m sympathetic to her plight, but that doesn’t make her any less of a brat – I do have to admit I can see how her iconic “bog off” phrase caught a whole generation.

Tracy and her arch nemesis, Justine Littlewood – both brats as far as I’m concerned

However, by the end of the first episode, I’m kind of rooting for her and wish I’d had that same sassy attitude when I was a kid too.

She doesn’t take any nonsense, especially not from Justine Littlewood, who I’ve been told is Tracy’s OG nemesis, making her reappearance in My Mum Tracy Beaker all the more shocking for fans.

Justine is also a brat but her aura isn’t as fun as Tracy’s. I think with any group of children, there is the golden rule about not snitching to the teacher/parent/care home guardian no matter how much that person annoys you.

‘I can’t see why it’s a British classic’

Justine breaks this rule almost immediately, by spilling the beans about Tracy’s friend Ben.

From the beginning, I knew Justine would be trouble, and I was proved right very quickly.

Tracy can be a handful but she would never betray her friends or enemies, Justine doesn’t have that same boundary.

And then suddenly I realised… I was hooked. Despite being sceptical at first I was now diving headfirst into childish drama, replaying it in my head as if it had actually happened to me.

Overall, I liked Tracy Beaker but didn’t really see why it was such a British classic.

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I was impressed by the fact it dealt with serious issues for children, but as an adult, it didn’t change my life that much.

That being said, I will finish watching the original series, mostly so my friends and colleagues will stop berating me for having not seen it.

But since there are over 100 episodes, it might take me awhile.

What’s your favourite Tracy Beaker episode? Let us know in the comments.

My Mum Tracy Beaker airs Friday at 5pm on BBC iPlayer.