Rio Wellard From 'The Story Of Tracy Beaker' Is Now A Hollywood Star

While many stars from British kids' TV shows of our childhoods have tended to fade into obscurity, there are a few success stories out there. After all, let's not forget about from Ant and Dec, the famous duo formerly of Byker Grove - which also spawned the career of Sons of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam, among others.

But outside of the Byker Grove stable, there's also another actor that's quietly risen up through the ranks into Hollywood stardom - from humble beginnings at The Story of Tracy Beaker, believe it or not.

Craig Roberts played Rio Wellard in the fourth and fifth series of the hit CBBC series, which was adapted from the Jacqueline Wilson novel of the same name. Like the book, the TV programme followed the trials and tribulations of the young Tracy Beaker, who had been placed in a children's residential care home nicknamed 'The Dumping Ground'.

Credit: CBBC
Credit: CBBC

Rio was one of the Tracy's fellow Dumping Ground alumni, along with sisters Roxy and Chantal. He was a feisty, rebellious goth type and a bit of a bully, but eventually softened up to the rest of the kids before eventually departing in 2005 in an episode called 'The Wedding'.

In the years that followed, Roberts had a few small parts, but it wasn't until 2010 that he got his big break with Submarine, the coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Richard Ayoade, which also featured an original soundtrack by Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner.

Roberts' turn as neurotic 15-year-old Oliver Tate proved to be his making, as critics and cinemagoers became smitten with his deadpan, self-deprecating style and soft Welsh accent.

After his success with Submarine, Roberts went on to feature in 2011 flick Jane Eyre, a music video for The Killers' 'Here With Me', 2014 blockbusters Bad Neighbours and 22 Jump Street, black comedy Kill Your Friends and comedy-drama The Fundamentals of Caring alongside Paul Rudd.

Between 2014 and 2017 he also played David Myers in Amazon series Red Oaks, which followed a college student working at a New Jersey country club while on summer break in the mid-80s.

The show, which has a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, became an instant hit with viewers, and ran for three seasons before its last was released in October 2017.

And the future's only looking better for the 27-year-old actor, who will soon appear in Tolkien - a biographical drama about one of the world's most beloved authors, J. R. R. Tolkien. Roberts will be starring alongside Nicholas Hoult, who takes on the titular role, and Lily Collins, who'll be playing Tolkien's wife and muse.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

While we don't know what became of Rio Wellard, we'll soon get to find out what's happened to Tracy Beaker - with the recent news that Jacqueline Wilson is planning to bring The Story of Tracy Beaker back and into the modern era.

Her upcoming new book, My Mum Tracy Beaker, fast-forwards the character's life a few decades as she's now a single mum, but the story will be told from the perspective of Tracy's daughter.

Wilson says she was inspired to revamp the award-winning book series as people were still interested in Tracy and her story.

How about all that for a blast from the past, eh?

Featured Image Credit: CBBC

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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