Tracy Beaker shares advice for life. Tracy knows more than most about rules and shares her experiences. What is the point of rules anyway? Are they made just to be broken?
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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 here,
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.'
Pay attention. I've lived through all this so you don't have to.
On The Tracy Beaker Survival Files this time - rules.
What's the point of them?
'Are they really made just to be broken?
'And what happens when you do?'
Rules. We all have to live with them.
Justine's got a TV in her room. I want one too!
What happened to knocking?
Must have run away with the rule about TVs!
We might not agree with them.
Shove off, weed. You know the rules. Boys aren't allowed in girls' rooms.
But there's no getting away from them.
Rules are rules.
The first thing about rules -
they look different depending which side you're on.
If you've made the rules, they'll seem fair and reasonable.
If you have to obey them, not so much.
Come on Tracy, it's bedtime.
'I always knew there had to be rules.
'I just didn't see why they should apply to me.'
Better not go to bed, then.
You'll be like a zombie at school tomorrow.
Oh, nag, nag, nag, nag, nag!
-Look, I mean it.
We need to set a few basic rules.
Rules? I don't need rules! Rules are the last thing I need
after a lifetime at the Dumping Ground.
Tracy, you are going to bed now and that's final!
You don't want a foster daughter,
you just want someone you can boss around!
Well, that's not me and I'm not changing.
Maybe you should be the one to change!
For a change!
This was not what I thought being fostered by Cam would be like.
I was just trying to get through to you.
The rules were there because I loved you - not to randomly torment you.
I was trying to get through to you. I don't do rules.
But you have to have rules. Otherwise you just end up with a chaotic mess.
I thought you liked chaotic mess?
-Why would I?
-I'm just going by some of your hairstyles over the years.
Well, obviously I like chaotic mess, or I would never have fostered you.
OK, I know I've never been brilliant with rules myself.
But when I agreed to foster you,
I tried to give you some discipline and boundaries.
It was for your own good.
For my own good. Yeah, that's what they all said.
But there were so many rules.
The Dumping Ground kids today have it easy.
'In my day, it was 24-7, wall-to-wall bossiness.
'"Tidy up. Do the chores. No sneaking out. No sneaking in.
'"Time for bed. Now time to get up."'
# Everybody has to sometimes break the rules. #
Come and have a look at these! 'We weren't allowed to have pets.'
Eww! What are you going to do with those?
What? These are beautiful giant African land snails.
That one's Speedy and that one's Gonzalez!
-Where are they from?
Worth a fortune.
They need special daily care, and I'm looking after them all weekend.
But we're not allowed to have pets!
Everyone else gets to look after them. How unfair is that?
Why should kids with parents get all the snails all the time?
We weren't allowed to go on sleepovers.
Sleepover? What sleepover?
-You must have known you can't go.
-It's the rules.
-We can't go because we're in care?
We'll appeal against stupid rules!
'We weren't even allowed to invite our friends to our home!
'Not without getting permission from a million people.
'So of course, I decided to do things the Beaker way.'
So where are the dogs then?
Erm, must be their teatime.
Wait here while I go and get a security pass.
Is that going to be a problem?
For me? Ha! Nobody says no to Tracy Beaker!
No visitors. Not tonight!
Tracy, do you understand the meaning of the word "no?"
Of course I do. "No" means...
Great! Let's go.
See what I mean about rules seeming different from different sides?
Jenny thought she was being reasonable.
I didn't agree. So I decided to ignore her completely.
Anyway, what did they think we were going to do? Burn the place down?
This isn't allowed, is it?
I'm allowed. Well, not allowed exactly.
It's a flexible rule.
-Definitely no boys in girls' rooms.
-That sounds flexible?
It's just the "definitely" that has me worried.
Will you get punished if I get caught?
What could they do to me?
I'd never squeal on anyone.
Even Justine Littlewood.
OK, but I'd hate to get a mate into trouble.
Mate? Don't worry, no-one will find you.
You want some? I'll get room service!
Just look at that. Perfect!
Duke, you're probably the best cook in the world.
What're you after?
Just a couple of slices in my room.
Oh, yes madam!
I'll get the servants to bring them on a silver platter!
-No need, I'll just help myself.
-No, you don't!
Another rule I didn't agree with. So I made up my own rules.
-'And took the pizza.'
Hold it right there!
What are these?
It's obvious they've been planted there, so I get the blame.
Could it get any worse?
Who's that? Tracy Beaker - gotcha!
-I'd sneaked Ben past the staff.
-I wonder if Jenny knows
about your private visitor.
Justine, please, we don't snitch in the Dumping Ground.
'But Justine Littlewood never could keep her nose out
'of other people's business. Or keep her big mouth shut!'
'And she was about to break the most important
'unwritten rule of the Dumping Ground.
-Tracy, what about your friend?
Her boyfriend in her bedroom, of course!
Erm... any ketchup?
It's a violation of my human rights.
If the United Nations saw you now, you'd be for it!
Tracy, tell me the truth! Do you have anything you'd like to say to me
before we go in?
-Is there anybody in your bedroom?
How come no-one ever believes me, huh?
A brief written apology would be OK, or talk to my lawyers.
Oh, maybe I was a bit hasty.
I suppose I should give even you the benefit of the doubt occasionally.
I suppose I did jump to...
It's OK. Wrong number!
Jenny thought she did the right thing.
You can't have strangers in a house full of kids.
Of course, Ben wasn't a stranger - he was my mate!
So I didn't understand why Jenny got so cross.
But now, I think I do.
Cos now I'm the one who's supposed to enforce the rules.
Which often feels weird, because I still identify with the kids.
Sophia, this just came.
I remember how amazing it felt to get a letter from a parent.
'Especially when it was good news.'
-Dizzee! Are you joking me?
-My dad's got me two tickets
for tomorrow! How cool is that?
Cos my dad's, like, a roadie, so...
We'll go backstage and meet Dizzee and his crew!
Gina, it's going to be so wicked!
-You know I so have to go, yeah?
Why? No way! You know why! You are joking me?
Look, let's not go through it again!
Oh, I hate you!
My job can be tough in a lot of ways,
but the worst part by miles is making sure
everyone sticks to the rules.
Sometimes those rules seem just unfair.
-What's going on?
-You lot! Stopping me from going to the gig!
-It's like being in prison!
I'm not stopping you from going anywhere.
-Why won't Gina let you go?
-She doesn't want me to see my dad.
Well, she must have a reason.
But I also know that lots of rules are there for a reason,
so I'm stuck in the middle, trying to bring the two sides together.
If I tell you, you'll just be on their side.
The last time I went out with my dad,
I stayed out quite late, cos he was packing up the gear and everything.
-No, it wasn't that bad.
"Call the police" late. That's why Mike and Gina won't let me see him.
Because you stayed out too late with your dad?
There must be more to it than that, Sapphire.
The thing is, I kind of accidentally got on the tour bus,
just to speak to my dad.
But then I fell asleep.
-But that could happen to anyone.
Which makes me think there's still more to it.
Well, if you don't trust me, then...
-A customs man found me.
He was checking for passports and saw me under these coats.
-Look, I didn't know we'd gone to Amsterdam.
I'd been asleep on the ferry!
Thing is though, I just wanted to be with my dad, so much.
'I knew exactly where Sapphire was coming from.
'I'd been there.' It's OK.
'All those times I wanted to see my mum.'
'So I decided to step in.'
Sapphire and I shared a bond - we were both Dumping Ground kids.
And I had to make Mike and Gina understand.
How could a silly misunderstanding about a curfew
be more important than the relationship
between a dad and daughter? This was rules gone mad.
That's what I thought at first.
Sapphire told me what happened with her dad.
You've got to let her go and see him!
These kids spend their lives away from the people they love most!
But those people aren't always the best for us.
That doesn't mean we're not allowed to see them!
Her dad, to put it mildly, can't take care of her without supervision.
Have you seen her yellow file?
Here, read that. In fact, read all of them.
The fact is, we're the ones who care for Sapphire.
Would you let her see her father on her own?
They were right. But I felt caught in the middle.
I could see their point of view, but I could also see Sapphire's.
However unreliable her dad is, he's still her dad.
I know exactly how she felt. So I knew she'd try to sneak out anyway.
Someone must be popular!
'That's what I would've done when I was her age.
'But I didn't have a grown-up Tracy Beaker to stop me.'
-Yeah. What's it got to do with you?
-What do you think?
I said, "Let's build some trust."
-You can trust me!
-Sure. Last time it was Amsterdam.
What's next? Join the circus?
-That was my dad's fault!
Get out my way. You'll get paint on me.
You're going nowhere! Even if I have to lock you inside here myself!
Now, give me the tickets.
-Give me the tickets!
Sapphire was gutted about those tickets.
But she forgave me - eventually.
We're well over it now. We can even laugh about it.
-The Dizzee tickets.
The best night of my life, which never happened, thanks to you.
I'm sorry, Sapph.
If it's any consolation, I hated doing it.
Cos that makes it better(!)
You know I don't enforce rules for the sake of it.
But this time, the rules made sense.
The thing is, you say you're on our side, Beaker,
but when it comes down to it,
you're just another control-freak care worker. No offence.
Er, actually Sapph, that is pretty offensive.
OK. Well, I'm going to go now. If that's allowed.
She doesn't really mean that.
-I do mean it!
But you see what I mean about rules, it's all about your point of view.
What have we learned so far about rules
to put into the Tracy Beaker Survival Files?
Rules are something that we all have to get used to.
There are good reasons for most rules -
though it may not seem that way to those who follow them.
In a way, I'm in the perfect position in the Dumping Ground.
As an adult, I see why rules are made.
But I also know how rules affect the kids -
especially when they seem unfair.
It can be tough to be stuck in the middle.
Like when I fell out with Sapphire over the tickets.
-Even though we've sorted it all out now.
-Have we, Beaker?
VIDEO CAMERA BEEPS
Normally, rules have been put in place for a reason.
But sometimes you have to see the bigger picture
before you can appreciate that.
Like with Jackie and her grandpa.
They had been a great team.
Until he got sent to an old people's home
and she ended up in the Dumping Ground.
I want my grandpa home, and I want him home NOW!
-Run a nursing home? You people couldn't even run a bath!
Jackie, we really need to have a proper talk about your grandpa.
What do you know about it?
It didn't seem right that Jackie's grandpa was stuck in this home.
So we decided to spring him out of there.
Rules or no rules.
It's SO unfair.
Your poor grandpa!
I've had just about enough!
-It's time for action.
-Ah! And I trust you'll be in need
of some expert assistance.
Tins of food.
Lemon-scented baby wipes.
Trust me. They're great.
-Go, go, go!
'There he was.
'So we took our opportunity to bust him out of that place
'and get him back home where he belonged.'
-Norma, what you doing here?
-I'm taking you home, Grandpa.
-About bloomin' time!
After all, what was he going to do, set the place on fire?
Hello, Norma, just trying to get a blaze going!
What, the entire house? And why does he keep calling you Norma?
I realised that things were not as simple as I thought.
It wasn't just boring rules that were keeping Jackie's grandpa
in the home. There was a good reason why he was there.
Mmm, mince and beans.
Just like the old days, eh, Norma?
-For the last time, her name isn't...
-What do you think you're doing, letting her in?
-I don't think so!
-But your grandpa, he's...
He's not very well!
He's fine. He's just tired.
You open that door and I'll never talk to you again!
That'll be less earache for me, then!
Hiya, Shelley. Come to join in our little sit-in? Woah!
It was obvious that Jackie's grandpa needed help,
but Jackie wasn't ready to accept it yet.
He thinks she's someone called Norma.
-My Dad was the same way.
He had Alzheimer's disease. The same as Jackie's grandpa.
I looked after him for a long time, till...
Till I couldn't cope any more.
JACKIE: You had to look after your dad?
Eventually, Jackie and her grandpa had to face up to the truth.
But your grandpa can't look after you any more. He needs looked after.
'Shelley was right. After everything we'd done to save Jackie's grandpa,
'we realised that he was in the right place to begin with.'
It was so sad.
I really wanted a happy ending for Jackie and her grandpa,
but the rules were right, this time.
There was no way he could live at home. He wasn't well enough.
And as you get older, you learn to appreciate that
some rules have a point.
Has anyone discovered where that nasty smell's coming from?
-It's definitely not the bathrooms.
Take a whiff outside Gus's bedroom. It would melt your nose!
-Right, come on!
-Boys, come on.
It's worse since Wednesday when it was sunny.
Well, Gus is back from his dad's tomorrow.
-We've to sort it out by then.
-Right. I'm going in!
Sometimes, breaking the most tiny, trivial rule,
can have really stinky consequences.
OK, I let Gus take the food to his room.
And yeah, some of it did end up a tiny bit past its sell-by date.
-Oh! Eugh! Eugh!
-But was that such a terrible crime?
How did this happen?
Oh! Somebody's let Gus eat in his room!
It was disgusting!
Apart from the smell, Lord knows what all those creepy-crawly,
slimy things could have passed on!
You know, there's places where maggots are a delicacy.
Well, not in Elmtree House!
This is why the young people are not allowed to eat in a room.
This is why we have rules.
But sometimes you have to be a bit flexible.
No, Tracy. You can't pick and choose rules to suit yourself.
-Eh, why not?
-Because we end up with maggots under the beds!
I didn't start out intending to breed maggots.
What happened was, Gus had been having a few bad days.
He needed a bit of space,
and I thought I could make an exception to the rules, just once.
Tracy let me have sausages in my bedroom, Monday,
curry in my bedroom, Thursday, and fish in my bedroom, Friday.
And that helped make all those days, good days.
My number one priority is doing what's best
for the Dumping Ground kids.
Sometimes, that means bending the rules.
# Rules and regulations. #
'Like when Lily had her accident, and moved in with me and Cam.
'The rules said that Lily couldn't have any visitors
'unless Cam was there. Lily was so lonely.'
It's not fair!
Oh, Lily, come on.
Why can't Tracy look after us?
Because I'm not allowed anyone from the Dumping Ground here without Cam.
-Yeah, I know it probably seems that way,
but if anything went wrong, Mike could be responsible.
But nothing would go wrong!
Yeah, but we can't take that chance.
(I'll talk to her.)
'She missed her friends so much. I couldn't stand it.'
I know it's a stupid rule...
But stupid rules deserve to be broken.
(Don't tell Cam!)
-Carmen! T! DISTANT VOICE:
Oh, quick, get to the bedroom. No, no, just get away.
What was that?
-That was just Lily deciding what she was having for tea.
-Thanks for doing this, Tracy.
You just concentrate on the meeting.
-Lily, your flat's lovely.
Yeah, it's really nice and clean. There's so much stuff!
It was good of you to invite the girls over.
I know it was to cheer me up. I needed it after the accident.
-I know. I would have done anything to put a smile on your face.
-I know you meant well. You always do.
It's just, like, every time you mess up and get everyone into trouble,
it always did come from a good place.
Er, what do you mean, "Every time?"
Just saying, your Beaker special plans don't always go as you plan.
Don't know why I bother!
MUSIC: "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper
Go T! Modelling a cheeky little creation,
available to buy for the bargain price of £1,000.
And Carmen, looking absolutely stunning in the piece de resistance!
'The afternoon started brilliantly. It was just what Lily needed.'
# I come home in the morning light... #
Yes, lady in the front row.
-Tracy, can you come back?
But the fun was soon over for me.
I got called back to the Dumping Ground
and had to get Sapphire over to baby-sit ASAP.
'Which wasn't exactly within the rules.' Thank you!
As Sapph was technically still a kid herself.
But what were they going to do? Set the place on fire?
I couldn't believe it. You let those three run wild!
I'd let them run wild? The "control-freak care worker?"
-Kids need some boundaries, you know.
-Except you, apparently.
I'm not a kid. I know what I'm doing.
Right. You sort out the pigsty. I'll go and make lunch.
So yet again, I had to sort out your mess.
I got them to clean up, and laid down ground rules.
-Er, but you hate rules.
-Stupid rules. My rules make sense.
So that's different.
This is the thing.
Rules seem reasonable to the person who made them.
It all depends on who's in charge.
-What are you doing?
Put Sapphire in control and she's like a sergeant major.
And she did a pretty good job...at first.
I need water!
If only the chillies hadn't got mixed into the girls' face-packs.
Hey, hey, hey, what's wrong, what's wrong?
-What have you done? My eyes are burning!
-I've done nothing!
Oh, you idiots! You saw me chopping chillies on here!
-Chillies? Are you joking, Sapphire?
'So they did set the place on fire.
'Unlucky, really. That usually doesn't happen. Much.'
Oh, it's OK. I'm here now.
It's all right. You're safe, OK? Don't cry.
We're not crying. It's cos of the chillies.
-Sapph, what happened?
-Don't blame me. I put the fire out.
'Cam wasn't exactly overjoyed.
'And Mike wasn't impressed, either.'
Are you on a mission to put all the kids into hospital?
I just can't believe you lied to me and Mike.
I was doing it for Lily.
It was totally irresponsible. You left four children on their own!
-You made me come back here!
-When will you learn?
Rules are THERE for a reason!
They're not though!
In any other family, she'd be allowed mates over.
Look, we've been through this.
But I'm the only reason you fostered her! Now you won't give me any say!
I suppose rules are there for a reason. Trouble is,
you don't always find out the reason till it's too late.
By that time, you've got a bed full of maggots or a burning flat.
So maybe it's best to stick to the rules,
unless you've got a good reason for breaking them.
Or you really, really want to.
So, what's the low-down on rules then,
to upload into my Survival Files?
Well, usually, rules are there for a reason.
Whether you like the rules or not,
depends on whether you agree with the reason.
It's easy to get caught up in your own point of view
and sometimes not get why a particular rule
might be a good thing.
If a rule is really unfair, it is worth finding out why it's there.
It might be that if you discuss it, both sides can agree
to change it a bit.
And if you are tempted to break a rule,
think really carefully before you do, about what might happen.
It's funny - sometimes the people who complain about rules the most,
will be the first to start making them once they get the chance.
And a suggestion from a "care home control freak",
to Sergeant Major Sapphire. Clean up after you cook,
and you won't end up with chillies mixed into a homemade face-pack.
'So that's the Beaker Guide to Rules safely uploaded
'to the Tracy Beaker Survival Files.'
More gems of wisdom from my experiences next time.
And you know the rules - do not miss it!
Remember, I've been through all this so you don't have to.
MUSIC: "I Fought The Law" by The Clash
# I fought the law And the law won...#
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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