Season 3, Episode 3
Air date 13/01/2012
Written by Steve Turner
Directed by Craig Lines
Episode guide
Big Brother

Shadows was the third episode of the third season of Tracy Beaker Returns. It was first broadcast at 17:00 on the CBBC Channel on 13/01/2012.


A power cut occurs at the Dumping Ground. To make matters worse, it is a dark and stormy night and there is an escaped criminal on the loose.


The episode opens with Tracy in the kitchen with Gus and Carmen. Gus notes that the storm is getting closer based on the amount of time that passes between the thunder and lightning, while Carmen tells him to shush as the radio is talking about an escaped convict who is on the run in the area near Elm Tree House. Harry then rushes into the kitchen and Tracy reassures him that he will be safe, only for the power to go out.

Tee asks Mike if this is another of Tracy's tricks (remembering the last time a power cut occured in Viva Carmen, it was a ploy by Tracy). Mike says that it is not, that the power company does not know when they can send someone to restore power and has Tee and Tyler find torches. Tyler, however, opens a cupboad and ends up covered in old junk.

After the opening titles, Mike tells Tracy and some of the kids that he is going to get batteries and that Gina has been delayed by the storm. Tracy is not happy as she was meant to be going to the cinema with Seth, but Mike promises he will not be long and leaves. Tracy then rings for pizza.

Tyler and Tee (now having found a couple of torches) are looking amongst the junk that fell out of the cupboard. Tee finds an envelope claiming that a curse will fall on the person who opens it. She opens it up and finds a riddle. Tyler thinks nothing of it and tries to care Tee with an old puppet he has found, but fails as Tee is now mulling over the riddle.

In the pool room, Frank laments that he is missing the England game as the tv is not working. Johnny asks the others if they would like to play, but they refuse. Johnny then hears a strange high pitch voice saying that he would like to play with him and gets a shock when Tyler shoves the puppet he found into his face - he was making the high pitch voice through a tube. Johnny calls Tyler a "wierdo" and storms out.

In the dining room, Gus hears the doorbell ring and goes to answer it, assuming that it is the pizza delivery man. Tee and Tyler (the latter having got rid of the puppet) enter the room, where Tee is still mulling over the riddle's words of "think "everything but"". Tyler brings up the phrase "everything but the kitchen sink", prompting Tee to walk over to the kitchen sink. She starts taking paces, but walks into the fridge. The others enter the dining room. Gus enters the room last and tells the others that the man who rang the door was not the pizza delivery man. In a flashback, Gus met the electrician at the door, but refused to let him in without ID. The electrician shows Gus ID, but Gus refuses to let him in, saying that the man is "smiling in the picture" and "has more hair". The electrician, annoyed, leaves. Tracy suggests that they can catch up with the man, prompting everyone except for Tee to leave. Tee asks Gus which way is west, and Gus points toward the window. This confuses Tee as in order to walk 12 paces west from the sink (the instructions in the riddle), she would have to walk straight through the sink!

Failing to catch up with the electrician, the other young people go to the pool room. Tracy enters and asks if anyone has reception as her phone is not working and the landline is not either. Unfortunately, no one in the house has reception either. Tracy tells the kids to entertain themselves while she goes to get some ice cream.

In the kitchen, Tracy is sorting out the ice cream when Tee enters. She asks Tracy if the sink was always where it was now, and Tracy tells her it used to be by the dresser. She then hears shouting from the pool room and goes to investigate.

In the pool room, Johnny and Tyler have got into a fight with each other. Liam manages to restrain Johnny and Tracy restrains Johnny as well. Johnny yells that Tyler kept interrupting his scary story with stupid jokes, to which Tyler retorts it is because he already knows how Johnny's story ends and proceeds to tell it. This annoys Johnny who dares Tyler to give his own scary story.

Back in the dining room, Tee finds another riddle hidden in the skirting board.

Later that night, Tracy finishes reading Harry a bedtime story, who then asks for another one. Before she can do that, however, she hears Liam calling from downstairs.

Tracy goes downstairs. Liam and Frank are both at the front door, which is now wide open. Liam informs Tracy it was like that when he and Frank found it. This surprises Tracy as she locked the door earlier. The others come downstairs and Tracy asked if someone went out. Johnny thinks that someone might have got in instead and says that it could be the electrician who has returned for Tyler, to which Tyler replies that he was only made up. Tee suggests Mike came back and forgot to shut the door, which Tracy counters, saying that Mike would not do that. Lily suggests that perhaps someone has broken in, to which Carmen suggests the escaped prisoner. Tracy, however, notes that the door was not forced open, so someone deliberately opened the door. Everyone turns their torches on Elektra, who denies that it was her. Carmen says that she will not be able to sleep unless she is assured no one else is inside the house, so to that end, Gus says that a full search of the house will have to be conducted.

Tracy and Johnny take a look in the pool room, only for Tracy to be scared by Tyler's puppet. Liam, Tyler and Tee go to look in the attic, only to find nothing, aside from a bat which scares Liam. In the kitchen, Gus suggests to Elektra that the cellar should be searched. Elektra rubbishes Gus's idea, but the two hear a strange sound and go to check the laundry room, only for Tracy and Johnny to jump out from behind a corner.

Finding no one, Tracy sends everyone back to bed.

In Carmen's bedroom, Tee (who has made a bed on the floor in between Carmen and Lily's beds) is still trying to work out the riddle, which says "don't whine if you find salt in this place". Lily susses out that it is the cellar. Carmen tries to tell Tee not to go down to the cellar (still thinking that there is someone else in the house). Tee convinces Lily to go with her and they leave Carmen alone in bed.

In the cellar, Lily and Tee find the clue hidden in a vent. After Tee reads the clue however, Lily's torch runs out of batteries and the girls try to make their way back out of the cellar.

Back in Carmen's bedroom, Carmen gets up and sees a shadow move past her door. She screams. Tracy rushes to Carmen's bedroom, followed by Liam, Frank, Johnny, Tyler and Elektra. They find Carmen hiding in a corner of the bedroom where she tells Tracy that someone was in the room. Elektra suggests that Carmen was dreaming and Liam suggests that it was just in her imagination. Carmen denies this. Lily and Tee return and Tracy asks where they were. Lily claims they were getting a drink, but Tracy does not believe them and orders everyone back to their beds and to stop pulling pranks (thinking that this is what is happening).

Later that night, Gus bolts from his bed and yells. Tracy and the other kids (except for Harry) come to his bedroom and find that someone has vandalised it. Johnny finds that someone has written on one of Gus's notebooks "Beware the electrician" and accuses Tyler, who denies this. Tracy demands whoever responsible to come forward, only to hear clunking noises from downstairs.

Everyone goes downstairs. A doll has been knocked and is making noise and there are muddy footprints on the carpet. Tracy has Lily, Carmen, Johnny and Tyler take Tee back upstairs while she, Elektra and Liam go to find whoever left the footprints, Tracy arming herself with an umbrella, Elektra with a foam hammer and Liam with a rounders bat. The three go to the pool room and notice someone standing there. They charge at the man and begin hitting him. The man yells "it's me" and Tracy yells at the kids to stop - it is Seth! Elektra continues to hit him, regardless.

Seth explains to Tracy and the other kids that he came to look for Tracy after she did not show up at the cinema. Seth explains that the storm has caused chaos - trees have falled, there are no busses and cabs, so Seth had to walk on foot! It also transpires that someone opened the door again (which is how Seth got in to begin with). Carmen thinks it was the escaped convict. Tyler says that "Johnny will solve it", prompting Johnny to lunge at Tyler and Liam having to break up the fight. Tracy then sends everyone to bed.

On the top floor, Elektra tells the other kids that while Tracy may have let them off the hook, she has not and intends to find whoever is guilty. They then return to their room, but Johnny stops Tyler and tells him to meet him in the bathroom in 20 minutes, saying that they will catch Elektra in the act. Tyler is surprised that Johnny thinks it is Elektra, to which Johnny replies she made her threat so that everyone would not suspect her.

Elsewhere, someone starts vandalising the bathroom.

Harry then gets out of bed to use the toilet. He reaches the bathroom and is scared by Tyler's puppet when it falls from behind a wall in front of the doorway. Johnny walks out to the doorway, tells Harry to go back to bed and to not get Tracy. This has the opposite effect and Harry runs to get Tracy.

Johnny finds himself confronted by Tracy, Seth and the other DG kids. Tracy proceeds to tell off Johnny for the events of the night, but Johnny protests that he did not go into Carmen's bedroom and only opened the door once. Tracy sends everyone back to bed and takes Johnny downstairs to the office.

In the office, Johnny explains why he went to the extreme he did (scaring everyone, as opposed to pulling pranks on Tyler). Johnny explains that he has been at the DG for years trying to be nice and trying to fit in but does not get thanks or respect for it. Meanwhile Tyler has only been at the DG for a short amount of time, humiliated Johnny and has already hit it off with everyone. Tracy tells Johnny that it was wrong for Johnny to try to trick everyone into liking him and that he needs to apologise to Gus and Carmen the most. Johnny still asserts that he did not enter Carmen's room. Tracy is about to speak again, but Seth recommends everyone go to bed. Tracy then opens the door only to come face to face with a hooded figure. The figure removes a hood that was covering his face - it is Mike. He explains that his car broke down.

The following morning, Tee is still trying to work out the riddle "time without hands". Lily tells Tee she is not going to solve it and opens the curtains. Carmen says that she had a nightmare involving a man breaking into her room. Lily tells her to forget about it and that it is a sunny day. Tee then realises that a sundial tells the time without hands, tells the others to get dressed and they find the spot to dig for the treasure.

Back inside the house, Johnny notices something odd about the muddy footprints he is supposed to be cleaning. In the kitchen, Tracy notices that someone has eaten some food from a pot. Johnny arrives and points out the muddy footprints.Tracy says they are Seth's trainers, but Johnny then points out that some of the footprints are Seth's trainers and that the others are boots and they are everywhere around the house. Tyler then enters through the back door, saying that according to Tee's riddles, there is buried treasure in the garden. Tracy realises why Tee was asking about the kitchen sink and goes to find Tee. Johnny then asks Tyler if he wants to see something weird.

Outside, Tracy finds Tee and explains that the treasure is just a blue plastic box. Tee asks how Tracy knows to which Tracy explains that she is the one who buried it!

Johnny points out to Tyler the muddy footprints. One set is Mike's, another is Seth's, but there is a third set that is too big to be anyone else in the DG. They go to follow them. The front door then rings and Gus goes to answer it. It is the electrician, who is not pleased to see Gus. This time however, Mike comes to the door, sends Gus away and greets the electrician.

The girls are looking at the various things in the blue box. Tracy explains that she and the other kids buried it so that others in the future would learn how they lived back then and that if she knew what Tee was doing she would have just told her.

Back inside, Johnny and Tyler conclude that there was an intruder. The power then comes back on and a news report informs them that the escaped prisoner has handed himself in and that he sought shelter in an old house. Johnny and Tyler are vindicated and run out to tell the others. This scares Carmen who says that she will never sleep again. However, Johnny then claims that he was the intruder, only for Tyler to then claim he was the one who entered the room. Tracy puts both Johnny and Tyler on cleaning duty as punishment.

Johnny asks Tyler why he covered for him. Tyler replies that it is because it is "what mates do". Johnny asks him why he would want to be mates with him, to which Tyler replies that he can take a joke. Tracy returns to the dining room and asks the boys what they were on about. Tyler explains that there was indeed an escaped prisoner in the house, and Johnny says they cannot tell Carmen because she will "never sleep again". Tracy says that she should ring the police, but Tyler says that he has already handed himself in and suggests it was because of Tracy's spaghetti hoops.

The episode ends with Mike putting the videotape into a player and everyone gets a shock from seeing Tracy as a young girl.


  • Tyler says Rick has been fostered.
  • Johnny mentions that Kitty has been sent to a special care home.
  • Liam mentions the fire in the attic from the previous episode.
  • The time capsule from original series episode Time Capsule is dug up in this episode.


  • Incorrectly regarded as a mistake: the power is out but the phone still rings. Phones do still work during power cuts.
  • At the start, the word "SHADOWS" can be seen spelt out in letters on the fridge, but in the next take, they have vanished.
  • When Lily and Tee go down to the cellar, after the torch runs out of batteries, the torch briefly comes back on again you can hear a "clicking" sound to turn it off.
  • At the start of season 4 of the classic series, Sid moved the kids to a new building, so the Time Capsule should not have been at the bottom of the garden (though to be fair, this has been forgotten as early as season 5 of the classic series).
  • When Tyler and Johnny return to the dining room, the radio is not heard even though neither of the boys turned it off.
  • The video the kids watched was a video Tracy shot in the episode Hollywood to advertise herself to potential foster parents in America, as opposed to the one the kids shot in Time Capsule. To make this error worse, in the former episode, Tracy threw that tape into a bin and it is extremely unlikely she would have gone to a landfill to retrieve it.
Tracy Beaker Returns episodes

Season 1: Tracy Beaker SuperstarNew Life's EveBad Luck BoyBy The BookFamily ValuesAnarchy in the DGSecretsSistersGood Luck BoyViva CarmenThe WerewolfA Day at The BeachMoving On

Season 2: The Burnywood MenaceDrainedCrushedRefugeesMoneyElektraWhat You Don't KnowA Day in The CountryThe Scare GameOut of ControlSnake BiteGrandadChain Reaction

"You Choose" specials: Come Alone, CarmenCyberbullyingBeg, Borrow or Steal

Season 3: The VisitorsFirestarterShadowsBig BrotherBelongingEggsJustine Littlewood ReturnsRewardSummer HolidayGoing HomeJody JacksonThe InvitationGoodbye Tracy Beaker

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