Ahead of her return to the TV role of Tracy Beaker, actor Dani Harmer has revealed she was repeatedly called “fat” when she appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2012.
Harmer shot to fame in 2002 as the title character in Jacqueline Wilson adaptation The Story of Tracy Beaker and is set to reprise the role in the new series My Mum Tracy Beaker.
The 31-year-old star finished fourth in the BBC dance competition with dance partner Vincent Simone, but told Radio Times she received “so many messages” telling her she was fat, despite the fact she was just a size six at the time.
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“I was like: ‘Holy moly, if I’m fat, God knows what other people must be thinking if they’re bigger than me’. That must be just horrible,” she said.
Harmer added: “I can think of things really logically and be like, obviously, I’m not fat, that’s ridiculous.
“This person, obviously, is just bored, or has something wrong with their life that they feel like this is the only way they can get some validation and I actually feel sorry for them.
“So I can kind of put it logically, I guess. But yeah, for kids it must be so hard.”
Harmer said it has become much easier for people to openly discuss mental health since then, especially on social media.
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She added: “People are being a bit more honest on their social media pages and using them a bit more responsibly.
“So hopefully we’re coming out the other side of it now.”
Harmer is excited to return to the role of Tracy Beaker again, especially as both she and the character have now become mothers.
She said: “I just think I was like everyone else – I was just a bit of fan.
“I just really wanted to know what Tracy was up to, where she was going, what was happening with her.”
The original run of The Story of Tracy Beaker aired between 2002 and 2005 on CBBC and remains a cult hit.
Harmer returned to the role for Tracy Beaker Returns from 2010 until 2012 and made a brief appearance in spin-off show The Dumping Ground.
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“It’s been such a lovely experience growing up on camera and especially playing Tracy – there’s never a dull moment,” she said.
In total, Wilson’s series of Tracy Beaker books have sold more than 1.37 million copies.
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