Review by Shania King-Soyza
Adults, teens, and kids across the UK tuned in to watch the anticipated CBBC debut of My Mum Tracy Beaker. We all know the boisterous, troublesome, outspoken Tracy Beaker from ‘the dumping ground’ who longed to be saved by her mother. The television show originated from Jaqueline Wilson’s: The Story of Tracy Beaker and further collection of stories. Since the ending of Tracey Beaker in 2005, there have been many spin-offs but none as anticipated as My Mum Tracey Beaker.
We were immediately introduced to the older, mature Tracy and Tracy’s daughter Jess: a strong minded, book worm who adores her mother. They both live in a small flat on a council estate, infested in mould but dressed up with their love and imagination. Tracy balances multiple jobs as she tries her best to provide for Jess with the help of her adoptive mother Cam. Their lives are abruptly interrupted by the presence of Sean Godfrey: a childhood friend of Tracy who happens to now be a famous footballer. Prior, Tracy has always rejected men but there was a childhood bond that separated Sean from the rest.
So, what went wrong with the show?
1. The target audience was very unclear. The writing was quite poor as it was written to be simplistic enough for children but wanting to deal with adult themes. For instance, there was a scene in a night club, gold digger references, sexual references, cheating references, infertility, the acknowledgment of being poverty and struggling whilst understanding gratitude and privileges. However, the show had silly scenes and that is aimed for children’s entertainment. In the show’s defence, there is an expectation to please the audience that spreads across multiple generations; however, it completely missed the mark by satisfying no one.
2. The characterisation of Sean Godfrey was stereotypical and annoying. He is obviously a materialistic man yet wants to commit to Tracy knowing it is not in his lifestyle to do so. He is often one-dimensional even though the show attempts to show him in more depth…this also fails. Throughout the show they kept repeating his name which was also very irritating. We understand his name by now!
3. They made all POC characters the bad guys…
4. According to Twitter, Jess annoyed a lot of people but in her defence, she is a child who is happy and comfortable until that is threatened. She is cautious and suspicious. She may be ungrateful, but she suspects this is all a part-time affair or rather wishes it is.
But what made it iconic?
1. JUSTINE LITTLEWOOD! As much as she was annoying, it was refreshing and nostalgic to see both Tracy and Justine back on the same screen. Both of the actresses perfectly embodied their child-like roles and personas whilst rekindling their great antagonistic chemistry.
2. Tracy confronts her mum about her abandonment issues. A short scene, but enough to bring a tear to my eye as we witnessed Tracy’s pain and trauma whilst finally observing her mother’s shame and embarrassment.
3. Cam gets married…to a woman! Cam’s sexuality has always been an unspoken, uncertain aspect of Tracy Beaker. It is definitely transformative to see two women get married on screen on a children’s network and show as it normalises and accepts same sex marriage.
My Mum Tracy Beaker was…interesting. As an adult watching characters, I grew up with in a mature, yet nostalgic light has satisfied some part of me. It has encouraged me to read the same self-titled book by Jacqueline Wilson (2018) to see any differences. However, I can say this on the behalf od the 90s-2000s babies: WE JUST WANT A RENUION PLEASE. As the theme song suggests “all my dreams will see me through […] I will win someday.”