Tracey Moore (nee McDonald) - (Tracey Barnes) Interview

Tracey Barnes

Tracey McDonald played the character Tracey Barnes in series three of C.A.B.

In May 2012 Tracey signed the guestbook (see entry 9) so I e-mailed her to say hi and ask if she would be happy to answer a few questions. Tracey kindly agreed so I sent a few questions to her.

Many thanks goes to Tracey for her time in answering these questions and sharing her thoughts and memories of her time working on the series. Hope you all enjoy the interview, it's a great read.

The interview is below, in her own words.

How did you get the role of Tracey Barnes? Were there auditions for the role? How old were you when you got the role?
I was just 13 when I won the role of Tracey Barnes through an audition that I was sent to via my stage school where I was full time. I remember the happiness and excitement of receiving the phone call from the school principle to tell me I got the part. It was my first major role in tv.

Had you watched the earlier series of C.A.B before getting the role? After getting the role did you see any episodes? How was the premise of the earlier series described?
I had never heard of C.A.B before and it was in an era where it was impossible to find previous episodes. I had to wait for the scripts to arrive before I found out the plot. The earlier series were skimmed over on a need to know basis as it was a new story line.

You played the younger sister of Franny Barnes (who had appeared in the first two series), do you know why Louise Mason (who played Franny Barnes) only briefly appeared in episode one of series three? What are you memories of working with Louise?
I have no idea why Louise was only in the one episode of series 3, and I only worked for her for a few days on set. Everyone, including Louise, was very nice.

What was it like and do you have any particular memories of working with the other younger cast members: Felipe Izquierdo (Colin Freshwater) and Ben Felton (Jace Freshwater)?
Felipe and Ben were great fun to work with, but total professionals when required. I look on the days of C.A.B with great fondness. Felipe was usually very sensible while Ben was a typical young lad. I remember him laughing quite a lot!

What was it like working with the adult cast members: Frank Gatliff (Mr Hellman), John Vine (Robert), Michael Bertenshaw (Vine) and Judith Paris (Eleanor)?
I worked quite a lot with Frank, John and Michael and they were all consummate professionals and an inspiration to work with. I don't remember shooting much with Judith as I think I had very few scenes with her. I grew very fond of Frank, and I remember at our "end of shoot" party that John had decided that working with children wasn't such a bad experience after all. (Never work with animals and children). We were all sad to say goodbye.

How long did it take to film an individual episode and the series as a whole? How did you find learning the lines for the episodes?
If my memory serves me right, we would rehearse a couple of episodes out of the studio for a week or two then we would head to Teddington Studios to shoot. It got to a point where it all merged into one big experience and can't remember the details!

Some episodes also had filming done on location, do you remember where these locations were (i.e. where was the Wooden Kamel shop)? Did these scenes take longer to film than the studio scenes?
The most memorable location was Hampton Court Palace. At that stage in my life I had never visited the place, and considered myself very lucky to be doing this job. The other locations were in the surrounding area of London, though I can't remember whereabouts. Even to this day, unless I navigate myself to a place, I won't remember where it is!

What did you think of your character, the Queen's Beast plot, the 'secret agent' theme of the series and the setting of The Wooden Kamel?
I enjoyed that my character was inquisitive and willing to get stuck in with the boys. At the time of shooting I was a very quiet girl who wouldn't say boo to a goose, so it was good to be someone different. The plot, theme and setting was exciting for the time. There wasn't much on tv like it. Everyone was talking about Blue Peter and Why Don't You, so a mystery was a good change.

The third series was filmed in 1987, do you know why it wasn't aired until Summer 1989? At the time of broadcast did you watch series three on TV?
I have no idea why they held it back, but I did watch it when it was finally broadcast. My parents also recorded it on video for keeps. I found it hard to watch myself then and am still my biggest critic.

If there had have been further series planned would you like to have done more series and continued with the character of Tracey Barnes?
Absolutely! I had a ball, and even missed a summer holiday in Spain to film it!

Did you keep any mementoes or keepsakes of the show (any props, photographs, scripts etc)?
I have a photo of me leaning over the news bulletin board and have kept all the scripts. Where they are now is anyone's guess (either in my loft or my parents), and I also got to keep some of the clothes that I liked, but once I grew out of them they disappeared.

Did you keep in touch with any of the other cast?
Unfortunately not. I wish Facebook and email was around then and often wonder what they did after shooting the series. The intention was there to stay in touch, but life got in the way, even at 13!

Did you appear in any other television programmes? Why did you decide not to pursue being an actress?
I did another tv series the following year called "Cuckoo" with Colin Baker (Dr Who), and continued to perform on stage until nearly 18 years old. I wasn't forceful enough once I left my stage school to survive in the acting world. I took up singing in pubs and clubs before marriage and children took over!

Would you like to see a commercial release of C.A.B. on DVD?
I'm not sure! Lol!

Any other comments you'd like to add?
I am stunned that I stumbled upon your website. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of it.

Tracey Moore (nee McDonald)