Childhood & Early Life
Dani Harmer was born as Danielle Jane Harmer on 8 February 1989 in the parish of Bracknell under Berkshire County in England. Her father Andy Harmer is an auto-mechanic and chauffeur, while her mother Jill used to serve as a legal functionary and talent agent for children.
Her parents split up while she was still very young. She has a younger sister named, Betsy who is a professional hairstylist. Harmer started attending drama lessons when she was five years old and two years later, she went to Redroofs Theater School in Maidenhead, Berkshire, on a scholarship.
The celebrated actress Kate Winslet of the Titanic fame also attended the Redroofs Theater School during her formative years. Hermer fared poorly in her GCSE exams securing a ‘C’ grade, which could be a result of the migraine attacks that she had been experiencing since 11. However, the headache disorder was diagnosed five years later.
Harmer’s migraine headaches were a big impediment during the entire period of her shooting for ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ that ran for five series.
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Career As An Actress
While attending drama lessons at ‘Stagecoach Performing Arts,’ Dani Harmer received an offer to perform onstage in West End Theater in Pete Townshend’s rock musical, ‘The Who’s Tommy’. She was only six years old when she went up on the stage for the first time in her life.
She also made her small screen debut at age of six when she portrayed Lessy in the TV series, ‘Pie in the Sky’ for the ‘The Apprentice’ episode in 1994. She next appeared in the series, ‘Trial & Retribution,’ as Amy Walker in four episodes that were broadcasted between 1999 and 2002.
Harmer performed as a mime artist in several pantomimes for a period of eight years from 2004 to 2011. She portrayed Dolly Mixture in ‘Snow White’ (2004) and the protagonist in ‘Peter Pan’ (2005, 2006, and 2010). She also mimed a character in ‘Dick Whittington’ (2007) and Cinderella in the pantomime with the same title (2011).
She was featured as a background actor in the first installment of the ‘Harry Potter’ film series, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. In the movie, she is seen inside the Great Hall while new recruits at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry pay a visit to the ‘Sorting Hut’.
Harmer acted in a string of television serials, including ‘The 10th Kingdom’ (2000) and ‘Beast’ (2001) before she bagged the lead part of ‘Tracy Beaker’ in ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ in 2002. Landing the central character’s role at the age 12 in ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ proved to be the turning point in her professional career.
Harmer portrayed the leading character in ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ in all five seasons broadcasted from 2002 to 2006. The series was produced and promoted by BBC’s CBBC channel. During this period, she starred in one episode each of ‘My Family’ (2003) and ‘Mighty Truck of Stuff’ (2003).
In 2004, Harmer was cast in the title role of ‘Tracy Beaker: The Movie of Me’, the only full-length telefilm based on the various Tracy Beaker TV shows in which Harmer had featured. The movie was aired on BBC and a DVD version was released on 25 July 2004.
In the years that followed, she kept receiving offers to act in TV serials that helped her to buttress her position in the TV industry in the UK. She played Molly Venables, a main character, in BBC’s sitcom, ‘After You’ve Gone’ from 2007 to 2008. She was the voice of ‘Beep Beep’ in the series, ‘The Beeps’.
She appeared in several other TV series, including ‘Trial & Retribution’, ‘I’m Karen Taylor’, and ‘Touch Me’. She was one of the anchors on ‘Might Truck of Stuff’, a program that was aired on Saturday mornings in 2003.
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Harmer reprised her role as Tracy Beaker in ‘Tracy Beaker Returns’, a spinoff of ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’. Aired from 2010 to 2012, the show presented Tracy Beaker as an adult who had started working as a caregiver as well as an author.
A total of three seasons of ‘Tracy Beaker Returns’ were broadcasted, and the last episode was aired in March 2012. The series ended because Harmer had made up her mind not to act as Tracy any more. Another Tracy Beaker spinoff called, ‘Tracy-The Dumping Ground’, was created without Harmer featuring in it.
In early 2008, BBC declared that Harmer would be the lead cast of a comedy series for children titled, ‘Dani’s House’. The first episode was aired on 28 September 2008 while the final episode of the fifth season was broadcasted on 12th July 2012.
Harmer also played the lead role in the sequel to ‘Dani’s House’ named, ‘Dani’s Castle,’ and the series ran from 2013 to 2015. However, she did not star in the 3rd edition that started broadcasting from July 2015.
She partnered with Tyger Drew Honey in 2012 to contest in ‘Let’s Dance for Sport Relief’, a TV show in which celebrities danced to raise money for a cause. The duo breezed through to the finals, eventually they came second in the show.
On 5 September 2012, she revealed through a Twitter post that she would be participating in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Series 10 with professional dancer, Vincent Simone, as her dancing partner. ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ is a televised dancing competition where celebrities are paired off with dance professionals.
Harmer and Vincent were successful in making it to the finals and were ranked fourth overall.
Career As A Songstress
From 2008 onwards, Dani Harmer began focusing on her singing career, signing a recording deal with Universal Music Group, one of the biggest record labels besides Warner Music Group and Sony Music. The £3 million deal was struck around the same time when she was working on her first album titled, ‘Superheroes’.
The lead single of Harmer’s debut record, “Free, which incidentally was the only single of ‘Superheroes’ became her show, Dani’s House’s theme song. The track was commercially released in May 2009.
UMG kept on deferring the release of Superheroes as the recording company was waiting for sales of the album’s lead single to pick up. Ultimately, Universal Music decided to cancel the album’s release. Sometime later, Dani updated a post on Twitter saying that she would be refocusing on acting.