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My name is Tracy Beaker
and these are my Survival Files,
your essential guide to the ups and downs of growing up.
Life in the Dumping Ground has taught me a lot about...stuff.
-Stuff that can make you want to scream.
If you can cope with the stuff that goes down in this place
you can cope with pretty much anything.
I've spent most of my life here.
First when I was a kid, and now it's where I work.
I've learned a lot about friends...
About what life can throw at you.
It's not always been pretty
but it's made me who I am today.
And now I'm passing on my wisdom to you guys, in a video blog.
I've lived through all this so you don't have to.
On the Tracy Beaker Survival Files this time, first impressions.
How much can we tell about people on first sight?
Are first impressions reliable?
And what did Cam think when she first met me?
We all meet new people all the time
and some are like an open book.
The moment you meet them, you can tell exactly what they're like.
um, hi. Nathan?
Like Nathan. We had him sussed in seconds.
He was just a big dopey kid. End of.
-Told you Tracy Beaker was the best.
-You've got it! Nice one, Tracy!
With Nathan, what you see is what you get
but other people try desperately hard to be what they think you want.
Meet Kez. She's our trainee social worker.
Yo, kids. What's up?
Er... "You seem bling."
Kez made a very strong first impression,
of a desperate saddo.
Wait, is it fist then fingers or...?
Her attempts to be down with the kids
even made Elaine the Pain look good.
Yeah, that bad.
Sometimes first impressions are totally accurate, but not always.
Some people are careful not to give themselves away.
For example, not so long ago
a lovely polite new girl arrived at the Dumping Ground,
a girl with blue hair.
Um, loving the hair. Do you want to come meet the others?
Do you mind if I meet them without any adults?
I just feel it's always so formal when there's staff there.
Whatever you feel is best.
'But as the girl was Elektra, our first impressions were way off.'
Aw, she seems really sweet.
Hi. You must be Elektra.
-Oh, wow, amazing hair. How did you get it like...
-Who's in charge?
Are you all thick or something? I said, who's in charge?
Left alone with the other kids,
she certainly was...less formal.
Come on, then!
Next in line for the Elektra shock treatment
were Harry and Jeff.
I didn't like Elektra. Nor did Jeff.
As soon as I saw her, I knew she was trouble. Big trouble.
Who did this?
-Get off of me!
You blue-haired freak!
Ow! Get off! Get off me!
I'm not finished with her!
Now I've got to know her much better
and I've come to realise
that I was dead right.
MUSIC: "She's Electric" by Oasis
She's angry and manipulative
and worst of all, she's smart.
She's good at putting on an act.
She certainly fooled me that first day.
And for a girl who can pull the wool over my eyes,
Carmen was just too easy a target.
KNOCK AT THE DOOR
-Are you OK?
Sorry, I'm just having a bad day.
So, why did you want to fight Liam?
I don't. Everywhere I go, someone beats me up on the first day.
I wanted to get it out of the way.
-You get used to it.
So Carmen gave Elektra the benefit of the doubt.
Of course, she regretted it later
when she found out what Elektra was really like, but here's the thing.
The tough hard-face Elektra isn't the real Elektra either.
Underneath it all, she's almost human.
With me, what you see is what you get. Simple.
-I don't think that's true.
Behind the loudmouth troublemaker front,
I think there's a caring person in there.
I'm not a caring person.
You know what, shut up, Beaker, you don't even know me.
Maybe I know Elektra more than she realises.
I know about acting tough when you're hurting inside
which might be why I can see right through her.
Every now and then, the mask slips,
just for a little while.
You can borrow it if you like.
Nah, it's too pretty for me.
What do you mean, too pretty? You are pretty.
No, I'm not, I'm ugly.
Rubbish. You can wear it tomorrow and then it'll have a memory.
Um, the day I realised that me and Elektra could be friends.
Hang on while I puke everywhere.
Fine, then give it back. I don't care.
No. Sorry, it's just...
I never had anything nice before, so...
you're just so...
Aw. Course, it didn't last.
It all went wrong pretty quickly.
-As soon as Carmen changed her mind.
Could I have my necklace back, please?
But you said I could wear it today.
Um, because, I was kind of planning to give it to Lily
-as a welcome home present.
That's great. Give Lily the present you were going to give me first!
It wasn't a present.
More of a...
Yeah? "The day I realised Elektra and me could be friends!"
Know what, I don't want your stinking necklace.
Why would I even want a stupid piece of plastic all for your friend?
I'm sorry, Elektra, you can take it... Ow!
Oops, I slipped.
Mike, you've seen a lot of kids go through the Dumping Ground.
What do you make of Elektra?
Yeah. She's been through a lot, so she tries to protect herself.
She puts this hard face on, so she doesn't get hurt.
So what can we do to help her?
We can try and respect her, and not judge her too harshly.
There's a great girl in there somewhere.
If we keep being there for her, she'll eventually shine through.
When do you think that might be?
By the time you retire, if we're lucky.
Elektra can be trouble, but there's only one of her.
Imagine coping with three Elektras.
Actually, I don't need to imagine. I know exactly what it was like.
When the Wellards first hit the Dumping Ground
they made quite an impression.
The Wellards believed in arriving with a bang.
They were not to be messed with
and they wanted everyone to know that from day one.
What are you doing?
This is a Wellard's room.
-Course it is. Silly us.
Sorry, we're just... tidying up for you, yeah.
Pass me an egg, Marco.
Pass us an egg, Chantelle.
Everyone was fair game for the Wellards. Kids, adults...
Even innocent dollies.
Uh-oh! Another terrible accident!
I'd just moved out to live with Cam. Again.
But I was still the undisputed Queen of the Dumping Ground
so when there Wellards took over, everyone came running to me.
Tracy, can we stay?
Oh, well, I am very busy!
Aw, Tracy, seriously, we can't go home!
The Dumping Ground's been taken over by aliens.
Yeah, please, Tracy.
Honestly, there's no escaping from you lot, is there?
Time to find out if these Wellards could stand up
to a little people power.
-I'm Tracy Beaker.
-You might have heard of me.
So there you go.
All it took was a military charge from the entire Dumping Ground,
led by me, and the Wellards crumbled.
Well, we won that one anyway.
But the Wellards didn't give up just like that.
Whenever there was a chance to big up the legend of the Wellard clan,
they would take it.
-I was thinking.
-Makes a change.
Why's he in jail?
Umm. Teacher abuse.
Rio's teacher gave him detention so his dad paid him a visit
and tied him to the seat with sticky tape.
Not so bad though, is it?
It is when it's the last day before the summer holidays.
They found him six weeks later.
So, Rio's dad was a dangerous criminal then.
No wonder Rio was such a hard case.
It all fitted in perfectly with the Wellard image.
The only snag was none of it was true.
-What about him?
-Why's he in prison?
-Because the police caught him, stupid.
-What's it got to do with you anyway?
-You said Rio's dad was in prison for teacher abuse.
-Stole dogs as well.
And robbed banks.
Rio's dad isn't even in jail at all.
-What's going on?
-Rio lied about his dad being in prison.
-Then why is your dad in jail?
-You don't have to tell him.
My dad's in jail because...
..because he stole a car.
And he drove it to this big bank and then he went inside and nicked
all this stuff from the safe,
and money and jewels, and money and stuff.
Everything, he stole everything in the whole place. The lot.
Dad didn't flinch.
Not even when the big angry guard dogs started growling
and showing their teeth.
That's my dad, see. Not frightened of anything. Nothing at all.
He's a hard man, a tough nut, a real hero.
-He's making it up!
Crash had made a big mistake. He was trying to be mates with Rio.
Crash's dad really was in jail
so he'd thought they had something in common.
He wasn't impressed to find out that Rio had lied.
I only said my dad was in jail to frighten Lol.
I didn't know your dad had... I didn't know...
At least you know where your dad is. I don't even know WHO mine is.
So, the Wellards weren't quite what they seemed.
Funny how often that happens.
If you take the trouble to dig beneath the surface,
you'll find all sorts of surprises.
What have we learned so far
about first impressions to put into the Tracy Beaker Survival Files?
Elektra and the Wellards deliberately went out of their way
to look tough but that's not always how it works.
Some people can make a bad first impression, totally by accident.
I wonder how fast this thing goes.
# White riot, I wanna riot
# White riot, a riot of my own
# White riot, I wanna riot... #
Take Liam. High-spirited, fun-loving, enjoys a good laugh.
Wait your turn.
Yeah, he can be a bit of a tearaway but his heart's in the right place.
That's how his friends see him,
but when Liam decided to borrow a mobility scooter,
the owner saw things a bit differently.
Oi! Get off!
Mr Spooner, who owned the scooter, was not impressed,
nor were the police.
So Mike begged Liam to try harder to impress the magistrate.
Liam, face the front. Take your hands out of your pockets
and try to make a good impression for the magistrate.
I despair with Liam sometimes. This was really serious, you know?
He could have been looking at time in a young offenders' institute.
The least he could do was try
and make a good impression with the magistrate.
What's with the phone?! I don't believe you. This is big stuff.
Tracy, what am I doing wrong? He's out of control.
-Gus has got a date!
At times like this, it's important to give the right impression.
We had to look responsible and serious
and Liam needed to show he was sorry for what he'd done.
He's the thieving beggar who took my scooter.
Thank you, we have your statement.
He might as well have taken my legs. I can't go anywhere.
-What, you've still got your scooter.
-But it's broken because of you.
-Give him the maximum, go on. He's a little menace.
-You lying old codger.
-See, no respect.
-This is the thanks an old war hero gets.
-It wasn't going well.
Spooner had called Liam a young thug
so it was up to Liam to prove that basically, he's a decent lad.
To be honest, my hopes weren't that high.
This isn't the first time
you've been before a magistrate, Mr O'Donovan.
I don't have any parents to show me a good way, your Honour,
living in care.
We've read your file and it would appear
previous punishments have not acted as a deterrent.
I'm afraid this time we shall have to consider a more serious sentence.
I knew I was going down but my sentence was worse than I thought.
Seven days of community service working with old people.
That was bad enough,
then they told me which old people I was working with.
-Aah! Didn't think he'd have the guts to show.
Come to do his time, he has.
Help himself, more like, thieving little beggar.
No way was I sticking round for a week.
As soon as Spooner would see me, he'd start banging on again.
He was doing my head in.
What are you doing hanging around here for? Casing my room, eh?
I'm sorry about your scooter. I'm not a thief,
I wasn't casing your room.
Eavesdropping though, weren't you, little tyke?
Are you all right?
No. Yeah, just get me to a chair.
Look, I'm going to get you some help, OK?
No, this is just a dizzy spell, that's all. I've had them before.
They'll only fuss.
When someone collapses in front of you,
you've got to make sure they're all right.
I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible
but then I spotted something on the wall.
That the war?
No, Suez Canal crisis, doing my national service.
-National service, what's that?
-In my day,
you had to join the army for two years whether you liked it or not.
-You just did it?
Happy days. All gone now.
So that's how you got all them medals?
I don't like to talk about it.
You did in the courtroom.
You lot have it easy nowadays.
Those fellas, they were the only family I had.
I've got no family either.
I don't like to talk about it.
You did in the courtroom.
All of a sudden, something amazing happened.
The thieving little beggar and the lying codger started swapping stories.
It turned out they had more in common than they thought.
A right old scrape that was.
I think I was chased for about a mile before the old bill got me.
-I don't think I could keep that up now.
Look, I'm sorry about the scooter. I was just mucking about, honest.
Look, forget the scooter. It's been nothing but trouble.
I've spent nearly all my savings on it and it still won't work.
Look at that lot.
150 quid for brakes? What brakes?
Look, I'm no expert but I think this guy's ripping you off.
No, he wouldn't do that. He's ex-forces.
We look out for each other, like family.
Spooner thought all young lads were trouble
and all ex-soldiers were heroes but life's not that simple.
Some people you hate, they can surprise you by doing good things
and the people you trust, they can let you down.
Oh, keen customer. That's what I like, Mr Spooner.
We don't need to go through it all again, eh?
Two honest squaddies like us.
You really are a class act, Eddie. What's this?
150 quid a service, 200 for wheel bearings. It goes on.
About two grand's worth of bills.
On top of what Mr Spooner paid you
for that heap of rubbish that you sold him.
What's this, Mr Spooner?
-You hired some yob to shake me down or something?
He's just an honest young lad who opened my eyes.
You're a cheat, a liar and a thief.
Give me one good reason why I shouldn't call the police?
So I helped Spooner out and he realised just because
I borrowed his scooter doesn't make me a violent yob,
and I realised he weren't so bad for a shouty old man,
so we'd both changed.
Just goes to show, you shouldn't always judge a book by its cover.
You can't tell everything about someone by their age,
the way they dress or seem to behave at first sight.
'Certainly no-one had Mr Spooner down as a boy racer,
'but it's easy to be taken in by appearances.
'Even I've been known to make that mistake.'
Sorry, couple number one. Thank you and good night.
'Looking back, I could have been more open-minded.'
Potential family number two -
you think someone as cool as me could live with that hairdo?
Get real, lady.
'I could have tried to get past my first impressions.'
-They're here! 'Especially when it was important.'
'When I was meeting people who could have changed my whole life,
'like potential foster parents.'
this is Mr and Mrs Brown.
-Call me Terry.
-I'm Jill, pleased to meet you.
-There must be a mistake.
These people are old.
But there was one visitor to the Dumping Ground
who I definitely wanted to impress.
She wasn't coming to foster anyone, at least that's what she thought.
She thought she was coming to write an article about care homes.
I've written about how upset my foster parents were
when I made them bring me back,
so I've drawn a picture of them crying a river of tears.
More like tears of happiness, getting shot of you.
This couldn't even go in a puddle, let alone a river.
-Come over here and help me tidy this lot away.
I won't have enough time to finish this before the writer gets here.
I'd better start at the top then work my down then, had I?
I don't know why you're bothering. I bet she won't even read it.
So there was this writer called Cam coming to meet us
and I wanted to be a writer.
I knew we were bound to get on
and that she would foster me, eventually,
but just to be safe, I decided to go the extra mile
to make an impression.
-Hi, I'm Cam Lawson.
-Hello, Jenny Edwards. Do come in.
Cam, what do you remember about the first day
you came to the Dumping Ground?
I was a bit nervous, really. Don't know why.
I suppose I had no idea what to expect,
what all of you would think of me.
The kids I did meet certainly made an impression.
This is my granny.
She's dead, and so's my mum. They're angels in Heaven now.
There was one who stood out from the crowd.
Someone's been using my make-up. One person's missing
and when I get my hands on her I'll kill her.
At first, the crowd was stunned into silence as Tracy Beaker,
the glamorous best-selling writer
arrived to be interviewed by another famous best-selling writer.
Then they couldn't control themselves a moment longer
and went absolutely wild!
No-one told us there was going to be a freakshow.
Cast your mind back then, to the moment we met.
What was your first impression?
Hard to say. I couldn't really see you under about 15 tons of make-up.
Yeah, maybe the make-up was a mistake.
Should have gone for more glitter.
Hmm, more glitter?
Could have worked.
Now, Tracy, come and meet Cam.
Tracy's the girl I told you about who wants to become a writer.
Tracy, a writer?
Yeah, that's really going to happen(!)
Give that back!
I'm Tracy Beaker, with my incredible heart-rending story.
Tragic - she's only cut out a picture from a magazine
pretending it's her mum.
You two girls, stop that!
Now, be honest. It wasn't the perfect start.
-You made sure I could never forget you.
-I hate you.
I'm sorry about this, Cam.
You're a total headcase, Tracy Beaker.
I thought I'd blown it. Cam would never want to see me again.
Bog off, Jenny. I hate you.
You knew how much I wanted to meet that writer.
And I hate that Justine Littlewood. She always spoils everything.
Tracy, it's me, Cam.
I just wanted to tell you that I've looked through your life book
and you've written some fantastic stuff.
I adored the bit about your foster parents and the river of tears.
Showed a lot of imagination.
The thing is, first impressions can often go wrong.
That's why it's good to give everyone
a second chance to get it right.
That's what I did.
No, not exactly.
Are you just saying that because you feel sorry for me? You better not,
-because I don't care.
No, you don't. I'm the one stuck in here, not you!
I bet you're not even a proper writer.
Writers don't bite their nails or wear tatty jeans.
You look like a right loser, you do. Not rich and glamorous at all.
That's how smart writers are.
Really smart with posh hair and swanky clothes and loads of make-up,
and loads and loads, and loads and loads and loads.
So what did you think of me after that?
Well, if I'm going on first impressions,
I thought you were stroppy, moody, difficult...
-Rude, unreasonable, obstinate.
But when you got to know me better...
I found out you were all those things and more.
Go on, put the boot in, why don't you?
But I also found out that I wouldn't want you any other way,
-because then you wouldn't be you.
Lucky for Cam I made such a big first impression,
or she could have missed out on all the happiness
I have brought into her little world.
So, what have we learnt about first impressions
to upload into my Survival Files?
So, that's the Beaker guide to first impressions safely uploaded
to the Tracy Beaker Survival Files.
More gems of wisdom from my experiences next time.
On this occasion, your first impression is right.
It's going to be unmissable.
I've been through all this so you don't have to.
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