This is the worst day of my life.


"A Day in the Past" is the 9th episode in Series 1 of The Dumping Ground and the 9th episode overall. It aired on February 22, 2013.


The Dumping Ground kids and carers visit an old Edwardian stately manor where they are placed into roles of masters and servants to learn what life was like back then. Class war then erupts.


The Dumping Ground residents step out from the minibus, which has arrived outside of a large stately manor, where they are invited inside by a man named George, who is in charge of the hall. He eventually leads everyone into the Dining Room to explains that the hall, named "Hidden Hall", has been owned by the Earl of Hidden for centuries and that members of the upper class and royalty have stayed there, where they were served by the Earl's staff. George goes on to explain that for the day, that is who they will be roleplaying and shows them a hat to pick names out of. Whoever's name they pick out, they will be playing for the day.

Carmen ends up with the role of a scullery maid (to her disgust as she wanted to be an aristocrat), while Frank and Jody are roleplaying servants. Gina, Rick and Tyler are roleplaying kitchen staff and must prepare a banquet to be served at two o’clock. Upstairs, aided by Rachel (George's assistant), Lily, Tee and Floss are roleplaying Edwardian ladies and learn that one of them is to be married to the Earl's son. Johnny is roleplaying the Earl of Hidden, Harry is roleplaying the Earl's son and Mike is roleplaying a butler. Johnny learns that his job is to convince the girls to marry his son. Elektra, is refusing to play her role as an Edwardian servant (not happy about playing “Edwardian dress up”), but Mike gets Elektra to join in by telling her a secret – after the lunch, they will swap.

On learning that lunch is at 2 o’clock, Harry tells Johnny that he is hungry "now" and says to him that as he is the Earl, he can make people do what they want. Elsewhere, Lily and Tee decide to invite Carmen upstairs to join in with them, as they feel sorry for her being stuck downstairs.

Downstairs, Tyler and Rick have an argument over who should pluck the insides of the chickens out, the former refusing on the grounds that he is head chef and should not do “yucky” task. Gina counters this, by telling Tyler to lead by example, like the celebrity chefs on television. This convinces Tyler, who gets started.

Upstairs, Johnny orders Elektra to get a peanut butter and chocolate sandwich for Harry. After she leaves, they overhear the girls dancing and hear Carmen amongst the voices. Johnny walks into the room with the girls and orders Carmen back downstairs as she is a maid.

Mike finds Carmen sulking on the stairs because she was not allowed to join her friends. He then runs to find George to convince him to tell everyone they are swapping after lunch to make everyone feel better. George fobs off Mike and the conversation is ended when Jody declares that she has finished setting the table. George and Mike then see that she has stacked the plates and grouped the cutlery in one corner, as opposed to setting everything out as though they were at a posh restaurant. George shows Jody how everything is meant to be set out and says that perhaps he should get someone older, to which Jody retorts that she is old enough!

Elsewhere, Johnny sees that Harry's face is now covered in peanut butter (thanks to his earlier sandwich) and summons Elektra. Back downstairs, Frank has (mysteriously) not yet returned with the herbs, so Tyler goes to look for the ingredients himself.

Upstairs, Elektra is annoyed that Johnny wants her to go back downstairs to find a dustpan and brush, then come back upstairs to pick up a few crumbs and refuses, telling Johnny to do it himself. Johnny replies in a snobbish manner that such tasks are beneath him. Mike asks if there is a problem, to which Johnny replies that it is nothing he can handle, then orders Elektra to clean butter from Harry’s and his own shoe. Elektra does this, but comments on the way out that he is “so dead” when they swap.

Elsewhere, the girls learn from Rachel how Edwardian ladies communicated with fans, which Tee compares to texting on a phone. Lily then remembers she wanted to phone her dad to see how he was getting on with her sisters, but decides otherwise on learning that George will think they cannot handle being without their technology, so decide to wait until after she is "married".

Back downstairs, Mike comes to check up on Jody and finds that she is doing a good job setting the table.

Back upstairs, the girls are enjoying dancing, but with Johnny and Harry, it is another story altogether. Harry is not doing the dance moves correctly and Johnny shouts at him. An upset Harry replies that it is not fun anymore. Johnny sends for a servant, gets Carmen, and makes her balance on one leg for his and Harry’s amusement. Johnny then orders Carmen to rub her tummy and pat her head (at the same time), but Harry stops finding it funny. Carmen stops what she is doing and refuses to do anymore, so Johnny sacks Carmen. Carmen shrugs this off as it is pretend, but Johnny insults her saying that it is the only job she will ever have, as he has seen her school grades (which are hinted to be poor). George then arrives and tells Johnny it is time for the dance with the girls.

On seeing Johnny, the girls take out their fans and begin fanning, which Johnny mistakes for the room being too hot. He exchanges platitudes with Lily and Tee, after which Floss asks when dinner is, as she is starving.

Downstairs, the kitchen is a hive of activity as everyone rushes to get the food ready, Jody nearly finishes setting the table and the audience sees that Frank snuck off to go fishing in a nearby river.

Back upstairs, Harry tells Lily that Johnny made Carmen upset. Johnny fobs this off, saying that Carmen is “just a maid”, prompting Lily to stop dancing with Harry on the grounds that she does not want to marry someone with a “rubbish dad”. Johnny retorts that he doubts anyone will want to marry her. Realising that he is talking about her real life, Lily tells Johnny to take it back, then attacks him when he refuses, having to be pulled apart by George and Mike. Johnny yells at Lily to get out and says that Tee or Floss can marry Harry instead, but Floss tells Johnny she hates him, even doing the fan signal for it. Johnny yells that someone has to marry Harry and that he orders it, to which George replies that he cannot force them and tells Johnny he has failed. Jody then arrives and bashes a gong to announce that lunch is served.

On arriving at the dining room, Mike tries to point out the fact that Jody has meticulously set the table, which Johnny ignores. Tyler then arrives with lunch, only to be told by Johnny to take it back. George tries to tell Johnny that he has to let everyone eat food. However, Johnny has gone completely power mad, bashing the table and asserting that he is the Earl. An annoyed Tyler then gets himself some food. Johnny tries to stop Tyler, leading a tug-of-war which ends in Tyler's plate flying out of their hands and hitting the Earl’s portrait, defacing it. George orders everyone out.

Outside, Jody “thanks” Johnny for ruining the day, Lily rings her dad and tells him of how the day was ruined and Carmen expresses her pleasure that the day is over, only to learn from Elektra and Gina that they would have swapped after lunch. Frank returns from fishing with everyone unaware as to where he had been. Mike then gives back Frank’s cap (he was still wearing it when he returned to the others) to George, saying that he did warn him.

Back at the DG, Johnny yells at Mike that he was only doing what he was supposed to do and the whole incident is Mike’s fault. Mike tells Johnny that he will not get anywhere in life by mistreating others and says that people in history who mistreated their servants, including the Earl of Hidden, received their comeuppance. A now remosrseful Johnny tells Mike that he enjoyed "being important" and that he thinks people will not think that he is important as he is a kid in care, to which Mike replies that he is important, but only if he believes in himself and if he does not mistreat others.

The following morning, the DG residents are woken by Jody ringing a bell declaring that breakfast is ready. Johnny explains that he is sorry for going power mad the previous day (even doing the “sorry” sign with a napkin folded into a fan) and has prepared breakfast with Rick, Tyler and Jody’s help. Frank arrives after everyone else and asks what is going on. Rick explains it is Johnny’s way of apologising for yesterday, but Frank is confused and asks what Johnny did yesterday. Mike asks where Frank was the previous day, to which Frank replies he was collecting herbs. Tyler counters this, saying he was collecting herbs. Realising that he scarpered off yesterday, Frank gets chased out the door and Mike is left laughing his head off.


  • Faith is absent from the episode, explained by her being away at an athletics competition.
  • This is the last time we see Frank fishing.
  • A Behind The Scenes special, presented by CBBC puppet Dodge T. Dog, was filmed during the filming of this episode.


  • How did Johnny know to do the fan signal for "sorry"? He was not with the girls when they learnt how to do them from Rachel and the only ones he had demonstrated to him were the girls doing the one to show they loved him (and did not know what was meant by it) and Floss doing the one to show that she hated Johnny (which was the only signal he learnt the meaning of due to Floss telling him). While Rick, Tyler and Jody were helping Johnny the following morning, they were never shown the fan signs and while Jody was the only one who went to the drawing room, she was never shown the fan signs either.


Tyler (on life 100 years ago): We can just ask Gina!

Carmen (dressed as a maid): This is the worst day of my life!

Tyler (about the kitchen): Where's the microwave?

Rick (to Tyler, on the cooking): There's no time for thyme!

Floss (to Johnny): When's me dinner? I'm starving!

Floss (slides fan through her gloves, to Johnny): That means I hate you!

The Dumping Ground episodes

Series 1: Home AloneLiberty in the DGBabyS.O.S.What Would Gus Want?The Real Faith DavisThe Truth is Out ThereDreamlandA Day in The PastOh, Mo!Seriously FunnyEsmeScary Beasts

Series 2: Kick OffQuittersThe Dumping Ground ExperienceThe BarbecueFinding FrankHolding OnEnduranceI Have a DreamSticks and StonesGI JohnnyBe My GirlHopeFace The Music

Series 3: Party GamesGrand Theft DGStuck with YouMischiefNow You See MeIt's Not About the MoneyFake it to Make itBreaking InThe Long Way HomeDragon SlayerThree DaysFree to Good HomeBetter Than YouWho Are You?Where is Love?Goodbye GirlSomething BorrowedWhat Matters?Coming RoundRefuge

Series 4: Lost and FoundBear-Faced LiarStepping UpThey Walk Among UsHold The Front PageGrowing PainsSubmarineFirst Past The PostSurvivorsThe End of it AllPerfect MatchDorisRisky BusinessI TrollIt Takes TwoGetting to Know YouTwo CampsHow to be PerfectOne For SorrowTwo For Joy

Series 5: Miscreants, Robots and BulliesBack in The GameOne Giant LeapThe Fairytale PrincessSittin' in a TreeFaking ItSasha Bellman P.I.BeliefVox PopuliFreeThe WardrobeFarvelChoose Your Own AdventureMaking WavesThe Phantom of Ashdene RidgeThe SwitchMission Totally PossibleSickRough JusticeWhere You Belong#SaveTheDGWhat Lies Beneath

Series 6: Jody On The RopesSaved By The BellGive & TakeHeroesSorryNotSorryCat's In The CradleChallenging TimesTwo Sides to Every StoryUtopiaThe LurgyRyanManHolding Out For a Hero

Specials: Jody in WonderlandLiam's StoryFloss The FoundlingDumping Ground IslandSasha's Contact Meeting