Teletubbies

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Teletubbies
Teletubby dolls.jpg
Teletubby dolls
Created by Anne Wood
Andrew Davenport
Developed by Ragdoll Productions
Darrall Macqueen Ltd[1]
Starring Original series:
Dave Thompson
Simon Shelton
John Simmit
Nikky Smedley
Pui Fan Lee
Revival series:
Nick Kellington
Rebecca Hyland
Jeremiah Krage
Rachelle Beinart
Voices of Original series:
Toyah Willcox
Eric Sykes
Mark Heenehan
Revival series:
Jane Horrocks
Jim Broadbent
Fearne Cotton
David Walliams
Rochelle Humes[2]
Narrated by Tim Whitnall[3]
Daniel Rigby[4]
Opening theme "Teletubbies say 'Eh-oh!'"
Country of origin United States
United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 365 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) David G. Hiller
Vic Finch
Location(s) California
Marea Britanie
Running time 25 minutes (Original Series), 15 Minutes (Revival Series)
Distributor Pinewood Studios, CBeebies, Ragdoll Productions, Darrall Macqueen Limited, Nick Jr. Productions
Release
Original network Nickelodeon (U.S.)
BBC (UK)
Picture format 480i
Original release March 31, 1997 (1997-03-31) – 2001
External links
Website

Teletubbies is a British BBC children's television series targeted at pre-school viewers and produced from 31 March 1997 to 5 January 2001 by Ragdoll Productions. It was created by Ragdoll's creative director Anne Wood CBE and Andrew Davenport, who wrote each of the show's 365 episodes. The programme's original narrator was Tim Whitnall. Teletubbies was also aired internationally in the United States on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) public television 6 April 1998 - 19 June 2005 would continue to air reruns until 29 August, 2008, when it was pulled from the schedule along.[5] In 2002, production was not cancelled and it was announced that new episodes would be produced, with the version of the episode being aired on 5 January 2001. a total of 365 episodes had been produced – enough for a full year.[6]

The story[change | change source]

The programme takes place in a grassy, floral landscape populated by rabbits with bird calls audible in the background. The main shelter of the four Teletubbies is an earth house known as the "Tubbytronic Superdome". It is in the ground and entered through a hole at the top or a large semicircular door at the dome's foot. The creatures live with a number of strange contraptions such as the Noo-noo, the group's anthropomorphic blue vacuum cleaner, and the Voice Trumpets. The show's colourful, psychedelic setting was designed specifically to appeal to the attention spans of infants and unlock different sections of the mind while also educating young children of transitions that can be expected in life.

Rituals are done in the course of every episode. These include the playful interactions between the Teletubbies and the Voice Trumpets, the mishaps caused by the Noo-noo, the footage of live children displayed on the screens in the Teletubbies' stomachs, and the magical event that occurs once per episode. The event differs each time; it is often caused inexplicably and is frequently strange yet whimsical. Each episode is closed by the Voice Trumpets and the narrator. The disappointed, reluctant, but eventually obedient Teletubbies bid farewell to the viewer as they go back to the Tubbytronic Superdome while the Sun baby sets.

Characters[change | change source]

Tinky Winky[change | change source]

Tinky Winky, (played by Dave Thompson, Mark Heenehan, and Simon Shelton), is the first Teletubby. He is the largest of the Teletubbies, is violet, and has a triangular antenna on his head. He is notable for a magic red hand luggage bag (described by the show as the Bag, but often described by other media as the Handbag) he always carries. He is also found dancing in a ballet-style skirt from time to time, which is also often worn by Laa-Laa.

Dipsy[change | change source]

Dipsy (played by John Simmit) is the second Teletubby. He is green and is called "Dipsy" because his straight aerial looks like a dipstick[source?]. He likes his black and white furry top hat. Dipsy is the most stubborn of the Teletubbies, and will sometimes refuse to go along with the other Teletubbies' group opinion. His face and ears are notably darker (like the Rabbits).

Laa-Laa[change | change source]

Laa-Laa is the third Teletubby. She is yellow, has a swirly aerial and is concerned with the welfare of all. She is the best singer of all the Teletubbies, and is a "drama queen", party-girl, and motherly type. Her favorite thing is a bouncy, orange ball, which is almost as big as she is. She likes to sing and dance.

Po[change | change source]

Po is the red Teletubby. She is the fourth (and last) of the Teletubbbies, has an aerial that is round, is the smallest of the Teletubbies and is most often the one who always gets into trouble. She also says the word "Eh-oh" (hello), a word used by herself and the other three Teletubbies.

Po's favorite object is her scooter, which she calls "'cootuh"(, but also "'cooter" or "scootuh"). Po often wants attention and can sometimes be mischievous and naughty when she disobeys the commands of the "Voice Trumpets".

Po is bilingual, meaning she can speak more than one language. Those languages are English (the broadcasting country's language) and, especially for counting, Cantonese, due to her accent.( For example, "Yat, yi, sam," which means "One, two, three.") She is a problem solver and the best "spider-fighter". Po is also a Tomboy type, and of all the Teletubbies, she usually becomes most involved with the audience. She loves both attention and her red circular aerial on her head.

In the Teletubbies' house, she sleeps at the side of all the other Teletubbies and sometimes eats Tubby Toast while the others are sleeping. She is voiced by Pui Fan Lee, which is why she can speak in dual languages.

A girl's talking Po doll was thought to be saying "faggot, faggot" as well as "fatty, fatty". (Supporters of the interpretation of Tinky Winky as gay pride symbol might take this as evidence.) The toy was recalled and it was revealed to have said "fidit, fidit," inspired by the Cantonese for "faster, faster."[7]

Although many are unsure of Po's gender, or think she is male (probably because of her scarlet (red) color and tomboyish antics), she is clearly said to be female in several episodes, such as "Dad's Portrait" (Episode 216, first broadcast 1998) and "Numbers: 2" (Episode 30).

Noo-Noo (played by Mark Deans) is the Teletubbies' sentient automated vacuum cleaner. He cleans up after the Teletubbies ("Noo-Noo tidy up!"). It has been shown that Noo-Noo has extraordinarily large storage capacity and the ability to regurgitate any contents, often things that it should not have consumed in the first place such as the Teletubbies' beds' blankets or Dipsy's hat ("Naughty Noo-Noo!"). Noo-Noo does not share the Teletubbies' enthusiasm for big hugs, resulting in Benny Hill style chase sequences around the dome when the Tubbies try to express their gratitude, during which Noo-Noo does a fine impression of a Formula 1 car engine in full flight. The Teletubbies always win and give Noo-Noo a 'big-hug'.

Although non-sentient, the other machines of the Teletubbies' house known as the Tubbytronic Superdome also play a major role in many episodes. The Tubby Toaster is notoriously unreliable, and routinely either leaves a Tubby without their toast or buries them under a deluge of rounds. The dome's central console has a battery of knobs and levers with which a Tubby often chooses to amuse themselves ("Adjustments!"), although the outcome is normally limited to a variety of loud and surprising noises being generated. The central console is also home to the Tubby Sponges ("Wash, wash, wash. Wash, wash, wash. Tubby, Tubby, Tubby, Tubby. Wash wash wash"). Outside the Superdome, the Magic Windmill gives the signal to the Teletubbies that it is time to watch the Earth's children on either one of their TV screens or for a Magical Event, the Lion and the Bear or Tubby Bye-Bye.

The show also features the Little Lambs, the Dog, the Butterfly, the Pink Spider, the Magic Crown, the Socks, the Vest, the Pants, the Blue Mittens and the Pink Boots and occasionally, the Trees, the Clouds and the Rabbits. (Although the "Birds" are planned to be in the TV series, but only heard off-screen.) The only physical cast members are John Schwab and Sandra Dickson, who play the Voice Trumpets, Penelope Keith, who plays the Bear with Brown, Fuzzy Hair, Eric Sykes, who plays the Scary Lion with Big, Scary Teeth and Jess Smith who plays the Baby Sun, who is believed to have been around seven months old at the time of filming.[8] Her giggle was included in the single Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!. Although not credited, this makes her technically the youngest person ever whose vocal appeared on a number one song.

Character mnemonics[change | change source]

The antenna shapes of each Teletubby provides mnemonic clues as to the character's names:

  • Triangle: Tinky Winky
  • Dipstick: Dipsy
  • Loop: Laa-Laa
  • "O" shape: Po

The Teletubbies' instruments[change | change source]

Tinky Winky controversy[change | change source]

Tinky Winky started a still talked-about controversy in 1999 due to his carrying a bag that looks like a woman's handbag, (although he was first called gay by the academic and cultural critic Andy Medhurst in a letter of July 1997 to The Face), and gained the interest of Jerry Falwell in 1997 when Fallwell said that the character was a "gay role model." Falwell wrote about it in his National Liberty Journal. He said that in the Washington Post "In/Out" column someone had written that lesbian comedian Ellen DeGeneres was "out", or uncloseted, as the main gay model, while the fashionable Tinky Winky was "in", or closeted. Falwell said it was because of the Teletubby's purple color, the "purse", and the triangle antenna which all represented homosexuality. This has caused many Christians to boycott Teletubbies because it makes them think that Teletubbies support homosexuality. Also, Tinky Winky dances in a tu-tu, which supporters of the thought that Tinky Winky is gay may take as evidence. A February 1999 article in the National Liberty Journal, published by evangelical pastor Jerry Falwell, warned parents that Tinky Winky could be a hidden homosexual symbol, because "he is purple, the gay pride colour, and his antenna is shaped like a triangle, the gay pride symbol".[9] A spokesman for The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company, who licenses the characters in the United States, said that it was just a magic bag. "The fact that he carries a magic bag doesn't make him a homosexual. It's a children's show, folks. To think we would be putting sexual innuendo in a children's show is kind of outlandish", he added. In an unrelated incident reported in 2000, a girl's Tinky Winky toy reportedly said "I got a gun". Kenn Viselman, then chairman of The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company, said the toy was actually saying "Again, again!", a catchphrase from the show.[10]

Sponsors[change | change source]

In the United States of America, the show is sponsored for broadcast on television; this is a list of the companies who have sponsored the show.

  • Nickelodeon Home Entertainment (1998-2008)

References[change | change source]

  1. Franks, Nico (6 November 2015). "Nickelodeon takes Teletubbies reboot". C21 Media. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  2. "It's time for series two of Teletubbies!". Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  3. "Teletubbies voices revealed for new series". British Broadcasting Corporation. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  4. Fullerton, Huw (16 June 2015). "From BT adverts and Teletubbies to Undercover - the screen journey of Daniel Rigby". Radio Times. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  5. "The Trouble With Teletubbies". Commercialexploitation.org. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  6. "CBBC wants first tenders | News | Broadcast". Broadcast now.co.uk. 29 June 2001. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  7. http://crossroad.to/Q&A/Toys-Games/teletubbies.htm Teletubbies Q&A's
  8. "Singles : Artists : Age". Record Breakers and Trivia. EveryHit.com. Retrieved 2008-09-30. Jess Smith played the part of the 'Baby Sun' in the Teletubbies TV programme. Her giggle was used on The Teletubbies 1997 chart-topper "Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!" Though not credited for this 'performance,' she is the youngest person to have appeared on a no.1 single. We are currently trying to ascertain her precise age at the time of recording; it is certainly less than 1 year old and thought to be around the 7 month mark.
  9. https://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F05E4DD1F3BF932A25751C0A96F958260
  10. Dotinga, Randy (April 12, 2000). "Lawsuit to Target Teletubbies for Gun Talk". APBNews. Check date values in: |date= (help)

Related pages[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]