The secret Jesmond location that was once home to a much-loved BBC kids TV show

La Sagesse went from a private girls’ school to a film set very quickly

Nowadays Jesmond is known for its city centre proximity, thriving student population and as a potential hotspot for new Newcastle United signings.

If you journey back a decade, the Newcastle suburb was also the surprising home of one of the BBC’s much-loved TV shows.

Sign up to our NewcastleWorld Today newsletter

That's thanks to the La Sagesse building on Jesmond Dene Road which went from being a private Catholic girls' school to the home of Tracy Beaker.

La Sagesse became the backdrop for the show's Elmtree House from Season 5 of The Story of Tracy Beaker to Series 1 of The Dumping Ground.

La Sagesse first opened as a school in 1906 and operated until 2008, after which it was taken over by the Tracy Beaker crew.

The building has a gothic design and, after the school closed, was bought by former Newcastle United shareholder Freddy Shepherd in 2009.

When the CBBC show arrived in the city, Mr Shepherd said: “We always said we wanted this fine building to be used to benefit the city and when we were asked whether it could be used for Tracy Beaker, we were more than happy to help.”

The school's alumni include junior minister Susan Williams, actress Denise Welch and Joanna Pickering.

The land is now used as luxurious homes and apartments, as you can see in the video above.

This £2 million house is now for sale on the land (Image: Rightmove)

In the BBC’s Tracy Beaker Returns, which was based on the novels by Jacqueline Wilson, La Sagesse turns into a care home.

The shooting of the show is thought to have created 60 new jobs, most of which went to film crew in the North East.

When a new series of the show was announced in 2011 Peter Salmon, BBC Director North, said: "I am delighted that a third series of Tracy Beaker Returns will be filmed in the North East this summer.

"Since the series started filming here in 2009, Tracy Beaker has put down firm roots in the region and is incredibly popular with audiences across the UK.

"I am sure that they will enjoy a return visit to the North East with Tracy in the new series later this year."

The Tracy Beaker series ran from 2002 until 2012 under various names with Dani Harmer taking the starring role of Beaker.

The show was a huge hit for the BBC (Image: BBC)

A long-awaited follow up also aired on the BBC in 2021, titled My Mum Tracey Beaker.

Speaking about her iconic character, author Jacqueline Wilson said: "Tracy is so outrageous. It's great to invent somebody who is far bolder than you would ever be yourself.

"I do think she's got an excuse for bad behaviour, though, because she's had a really tough life.

"If Tracy didn't have this total determination to survive and get her own back on people, she would be an extra-specially sad soul."

Tracy Beaker won a number of awards over the years, including a Children's BAFTA for Best Drama.

Harmer has gone on to become a star of the stage, appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and has used her platform for political purposes when filming a video twisting her character's iconic catchphrase into 'Bog off Tories!'.