Those of us who’ve spent any time on TikTok at all will know its users love a bit of nostalgia (noughties nostalgia especially). If your feed isn’t filled with Gen Z-ers sporting Juicy Couture sweats, low-rise jeans and trucker hats, you’re on the wrong app. But an even better way to spot a true Y2K aficionado is by the telly they’re posting about.
From CBBC classics to long-lost tween dramas, old-school kids’ shows have taken over TikTok. Here are ten you might recognise…
The Story of Tracy Beaker (2002-2005)
This teatime classic about a naughty kid growing up in the UK’s child care system was a post-school staple in the early noughties. Iconic lines like: “I’m not crying. It’s hay fever” or infectious playground retort “Bog off!”, have even embedded themselves in internet culture. What’s more, the adult themes tackled throughout its run (grief, loss, abandonment) mean many of us are, only now, fully comprehending Tracy Beaker’s importance.
Watching Trapped! was a weird yet thrilling experience. The game show about kids fighting for survival (although they always managed to get back home before dinner) in a multi-storey CGI tower might have looked a bit like a dodgy PS2 game, but the fear of getting stuck there was very real. Which of us didn’t jump out of our skins when the cracking purple lips of ‘The Voice’ shrieked “You’re trapped! Mwahahaha!” each episode?
Lost to the dusty shelves of YouTube soon after it finished airing, pre-teen sitcom Kerching! has experienced a revival in recent months. Now reinstalling the nation’s love for self-made hustlers like boy billionaire Taj, TikTok has brought the Rudeboy business back into the public domain. Check out the scenes dominating timelines below, before you binge it online.
Horrible Histories (2009-2014)
Goofy in its humour and surprisingly high-end in its production values, Horrible Histories was as entertaining as it was educational – and on TikTok it’s currently living a second life. Most simply reminisce about the show’s rejigged versions of pop classics by Dizzee Rascal and Adam Ant, but there’s now a trend of people ranking their favourite HH bops in order too. Charles II’s catchy take on Eminem’s 1999 hit ‘My Name is’ definitely tops our list.
Big Time Rush (2009-2013)
On-screen, the popular comedy’s titular boyband sung their way to mainstream success. Off it, the babyfaced quartet of Kendall, Logan, Carlos and James went even further, putting out one of the biggest teen-pop tracks of the last decade in ‘Boyfriend’. That 2011 Snoop Dogg-featuring hit currently boasts 59 million views on YouTube, which isn’t much when compared to rivals One Direction, but did Harry, Zayn and co ever star on Nickelodeon’s highest-rated live-action series of all time?
iCarly (2007-2012; 2021-)
Apart from accurately predicting today’s influencer economy, teen sitcom iCarly also provided a whole generation the blueprint for making money off the internet. Set in generic high school America, it follows three friends who accidentally become successful webcasters when their audition tape goes viral. Since a new reboot was announced in 2020 (and debuted last week) fans of the original have been sharing their favourite clips on TikTok.
After 30 years on the air, America’s longest-running animated kids’ show doesn’t need a reboot, but with so many episodes to choose from, its back catalogue could use a refresh. Step forward Gen Z, whose savvy memes and clever analysis have unearthed a cheekier side to the cartoon aardvark. Oh – and who knew DW was such a comedy genius?
Quickly amassing a cult following in the early 2010s, this supernatural series took the ‘cool werewolf’ format established by hit US show Teen Wolf and gave it a British makeover. It follows the closeted lives of two teenagers in the Northumbrian Moors, both of whom are ‘wolfbloods’ – creatures that have enhanced senses and look like humans but can turn into wolves at will. Being a teenager is hard enough. But hiding your secret nature from the world while also trying to navigate school, friends and everyday life sounds like total howl.
Young Dracula (2006-2014)
Another of CBBC’s great supernatural titles, Young Dracula blended quirky deadpan humour with well-written YA fantasy. Gerran Howell played Vlad, son of single dad Count Dracula who moves to modern-day Britain from Transylvania for a better life. Even better, Craig Roberts (soon to be immortalised in indie culture by the Alex Turner-soundtracked Submarine) stars as Vlad’s best mate Robin – and the pair have fun running about a gloomy castle avoiding the disapproving eye of Vlad’s father. Whether you aspired to become a vampire or not, this was timeless telly. Have fun catching up on the many appreciation posts now trending on TikTok.