The Dumping Ground


Quick facts:
- Family Drama series
- Duration pr episode, aprox. 30 min
- 1 BAFTA award - Best drama
- 1 Royal Television Society award
- 1 Writers Guild of Great Britain
- Plus 4 other nominations

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Series 3 : 16 - The Goodbye Girl

Tyler's plan to put on a great magic show leads him to a first love with Chanelle, the mysterious daughter of a magic-shop owner.

In this episode we get introduced to a young boy, Tyler, who is exploring the world of magic tricks, at the same time as he is trying to find himself. Early on we can understand that this is the character we are going to follow and get to know as the story unfolds. What I really like about this serie is that you dont necessarily need to have watched any earlier episodes to catch up, or to understand the action or content of the story. 

Tyler lives at The Dumping Ground, set in a children´s home where all the children face many fun adventures as they all grow up in foster care. The series are a spin off from "The Story Of Tracy Beaker" which is based on the best-selling novel by Jacqueline Wilson. 

Already from the beginning we learn a great deal about the character we are to follow. As a group of intimidating teenage boys approach him to take all the money he just earned doing magic tricks in the streets. He shows both courage, bravery and fear despite running off to escape from the teenagers.

One of the main red threads in this episode are the magic. It appears throughout from beginning to end, in all sorts of ways.  After being chased by the older teenage boys Tyler hides in a corner shop, which appears to be selling magic toys and tricks. The chemistry that occurs between him and the girl working in the shop, tells us that she has a bigger part and meaning in the story.

When he leaves the girl, she gives him some of the magic toys and tricks as a gift, because she can see and understand how much he appreciates and likes to perform magic tricks. He shows the new tricks to his friends at The Dumping Ground. Some of the girls confronts him to ask if he has stolen it, and they encourage him to go and thank her.

At the same time parallel to Tyler´s adventure, one of the other kids get sick. And it becomes one of the older kids quest to find out what causes his allergic reaction. While all the other backs off to avoid being infected by what they believe to be an contagious disease. He sticks with him and helps him finding out what can help to solve the decease.

As Tyler gets permission from one of the carer´s at TDG to put on his own magic show for the other kids. He starts to research and build his own magic case to make an assistance to disappair. As he is trying to figure out the case, Chanelle the girl from the shop, turns up and helps him build it. Tyler falls more and more into a crush. As viewers we can relate to the difficulties in teamwork, how to handle emotions, falling in love for the first time when your young and insecure on all the new feelings you suddenly have. At the same time the message of falling and then have to raise again, is striking and told in a very discreet but well working way.

His first time being in love develops to be both hard and heartbreaking as he learns the cold fact that Chanelle is moving away, and her father didn't want for them to be together, not because he didn't like him, but because he didn't want for either of them to get hurt. Lines can be drawn to real-life feelings and they manage to make the audience believe the father straight forward doesn't like him. And then to later reveal the soar and heartbreaking truth. Of a father just wanting the best for his daughter and her new friend.

There is both strong friendships and young love presented on screen in a most purely and innocent way possible. It is definitely a family series where everyone can watch and enjoy. No matter if your five or fourthy. I really like how they have managed to make the action very naturally, and not to excessive. They have kept it simple, easy storyline to follow, characters that develop and change. As well as making the audience develop a relationship to and with the characters, and their stories.

The magic is what pulls Chanelle and Tyler both together and apart. As they team up and she assistance for him in his magic show, and her fathers magic shop not making enough money and causing them to have to move away. A beautiful and really well done, cute little love story, about how fragile love and goodbyes truly are. Really enjoyed watching.

The cinematography in the episode is really nice, I especially like the lighting in all the different scenes, as well as the framing of the shots. They have managed to create a special, warm and cozy atmosphere, that makes you want to escape into it. This is something I took with me as an inspiration of how to be able to create such a special atmosphere in my story on screen.

When it comes to how this drama affected my story and writing, I look to it as an inspiration of how to be able to combine both parallel storytelling, as well as being able to bring up bigger and sensitive themes and subjects in a gentle and yet powerful way. Without it being forced or overdramatised. And also to be able to create a special atmosphere and "real world" on screen, with good lighting, good framed shots and pure and clean storyline.

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//All images screenshot from the BBC

//Sources of information

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