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Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 13:29 UK
Tyneside return for Tracy Beaker

Watch a short scene being filmed on the Newcastle set

The popular children's TV drama Tracy Beaker is set to return to CBBC in 2010 - with a new series that's been filmed entirely in the north-east of England.

The 13-part drama, Tracy Beaker Returns, follows Tracy as she goes back to her care home as a young adult to start work as a carer.

The former La Sagesse school in Jesmond has been used as the set of the care home known as the "Dumping Ground".

Other locations in the region have also been used, including the MetroCentre.

Actress Dani Harmer once again plays the character of Tracy, who she has portrayed since 2002.

She told BBC Newcastle's Alfie Joey she had enjoyed filming in Newcastle.

"It's been really cool, the people are really friendly," she said - although she also admitted she had found it rather cold!

School set

The site of the former private school in Jesmond provided an ideal location for filming the drama, with plenty of space for both sets and production offices.

"We couldn't have been luckier really," said Gareth Williams the locations manager.

Tracy Beaker Returns set
This room has been turned into the Dumping Ground kitchen

"I spend most of my life in portable buildings on trading estates going out on location... and it's great to be off the road on a discreet site in leafy Jesmond."

Gareth said the crew spent about a month transforming rooms in one of the school buildings into the Dumping Ground.

This included creating a fictional kitchen, lobby, bedrooms, and office, all of which were brought to life with props such as children's toys and paintings.

The downstairs rooms were decorated first so that filming could start there while the art department continued to work on the upstairs sets.

Most of the rooms - and many of the props - have a pinkish-red colour scheme, which should give the new series a very distinctive look.

No landmarks

The exterior of the father's house, where the priests lived, was spruced-up and painted in order to double as the front of the Dumping Ground.

Building on Tracy Beaker set in Newcastle
This building is used as the front of the Dumping Ground

The team also spent about 15 days filming at other locations around the North East, such as Washington services and the MetroCentre.

However, you're unlikely to spot any regional landmarks in the new show.

Locations manager Gareth said they had avoided filming at iconic locations like the Tyne Bridge, because the series is still set in the same fictional location - and not in real-life Newcastle.

So although some local actors are in the new series, the whole cast has not suddenly developed Geordie accents!

Grown-up Tracy

In the new series, Tracy is several years older, and goes to work at the Dumping Ground as a care assistant because she needs to earn some money.

Once back, she quickly becomes embroiled in the lives and problems of the children living in the home.

Dani Harmer talked to BBC Look North about the new series

Dame Jacqueline Wilson, who devised the stories, said: "So many children ask me what happened to her when she got older, now we can finally find out."

However, although Tracy has grown up, Dani reassured fans the character has lost none of her trademark feisty spirit.

"Don't worry, there's still plenty of naughtiness," she laughed.

"Plus we've got a whole bunch of kids who are a nightmare, so it's brilliant!"




SEE ALSO
Filming Tracy Beaker on Tyneside
02 Oct 09 |  Arts & Culture
Grown-up return for Tracy Beaker
02 Oct 09 |  Arts & Culture
Talking Shop: Dani Harmer
26 May 09 |  Entertainment
Grown-up return for Tracy Beaker
26 Mar 09 |  Entertainment

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