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12th Mar 2018

Tracy Beaker is back and she’s now a single mum surviving on benefits

Kyle Picknell

Jacqueline Wilson is fast-forwarding to her adulthood.

The Story of Tracy Beaker is a programme we all remember watching on CBBC back in the day. 120 glorious episodes at the Dumping Ground. Tracy’s big mad frizzy hair. A character actually being called “Crash”. Crash getting unreasonably angry for no reason and throwing shit everywhere. The Wellards being well ‘ard. Sensational writing. Iconic.

Jacqueline Wilson, author of the books upon which the the series is based, is now bringing her character back, but this time as a single mother looking after her own ten-year old tyrant.

She spoke to the Observer about her inspiration for writing the forthcoming book, saying “It’s stimulating to think about how people develop as they get older. Tracy has been a character that’s haunted me. She’s the sort of person who sticks in your mind.”

“When I realised just how long ago it was since I wrote the first Tracy Beaker book, I thought: if we were in real time, Tracy herself would be in her 30s. And I’ve always thought that, even though Tracy had lots of problems in her life and a pretty rubbish mum who was never there for her, Tracy herself would be a good mum, no matter what.”

The book is written from the perspective of her daughter, Jess, as Tracy struggles to make ends meet living in a housing association flat in an expensive city and moving in and out of work. It’s a situation Wilson is comfortable with, growing up in Kingston upon Thames in south-west London and understanding that it is the modern-day reality for many women without an education attempting to both work and raise a child.

“How many young women without much education earn enough, with a daughter, to be able to buy their own home in London today? Being Tracy, she wants to be independent, but with a child, how can she be? So she’s having to scratch around,” she explained.

The new book is expected to be published in October later this year.