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Teletubbies is a British-American BBC children's television series for pre-school viewers. It was a show made from 31 March 1997 to 16 February 2001. It was developed by Ragdoll Productions and created by director Anne Wood CBE and Andrew Davenport whom wrote all 365 episodes of the original series and all 120 episodes of the revival series, this time with Darrall Macqueen developing the show. The show had two narrators; Tim Whitnall (for the international versions) and Rolf Saxon (for the PBS version). Teletubbies was also shown on televisions in the United States on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Public television used the show on their television network until 29 August, 2008, when it was removed from the television schedule.
|Created by||Anne Wood|
|Developed by||Ragdoll Productions (Original Series)|
Darrall Macqueen (Revived Series)
Pui Fan Lee
|Voices of||Original series:|
Sandra Dickinson (US)
John Schwab (US)
Toni Barry (US)
Dena Davis (US)
|Narrated by||Tim Whitnall|
Toyah Wilcox (titles and credits only)
Rolf Saxon (US)
Antonia Thomas (titles and credits only)
|Opening theme||"Teletubbies say 'Eh-oh!'"|
|Composer(s)||Andrew McCorrie-Shand (Original series)|
Matt Katz (Revival series)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||5 (original)|
|No. of episodes||365 (original)|
120 (revival) (list of episodes)
|Executive producer(s)||Anne Wood|
David G. Hiller
Vic Finch (Original Series)
Billy Macqueen (Revival Series)
|Production location(s)||Wimpstone, England (1997–2001)|
Twickenham Studios, West London, England (2015–present)
|Running time||25 minutes (original series) |
15 minutes (revival series)
|Production company(s)||Original series|
|Distributor||BBC Worldwide (Original Series)|
DHX Media (Revival Series)
|Original network||Original series
BBC Two (1999-2002)
Channel 5 (2001-2008)
Nick Jr. (1999-2014)
Nick Jr. (2015-2020)CBeebies (2015-present)
|Picture format||4:3 (1997-2001) 16:9 (2015-2018)|
|Audio format||Dolby Surround (1997-2001) Dolby Digital (2015-2018)|
|Original release||Original series:|
31 March 1997 –
16 February 2001
9 November 2015 –
12 October 2018
The show made new episodes until on 16 February 2001. Years later, a new series aired in 2015.
The show takes place in a grassy, floral landscape populated by rabbits with bird calls heard in the background. The four Teletubbies live in a house in a hill, known as the "Tubbytronic Superdome." Located in the ground, it has two entrances: a hole at the top, and a large semicircular (shaped like the half of a circle) door at the dome's foot.
The Teletubbies are four colourful monkey-like and lemur-like puppets acting like four multicolored creatures. They have TV screens in their stomachs and antennas on their heads. They live with a number of monkey-like objects (objects with lemur-like characteristics) such as the Noo-noo, a blue vacuum cleaner, and the Voice Trumpets, a set of speakers shaped like shower heads.
On every episode, the Teletubbies do similar activities, like playing with the Voice Trumpets, or the mishaps caused by the Noo-noo. That also includes the footage of live children displayed on the screens in the Teletubbies' stomachs, and a magical event that happens once per episode. The activities are different from each episode but still very similar.
Tinky Winky, (played by Dave Thompson, Mark Heenehan, and Simon Shelton), is the first Teletubby. He is the largest Teletubby, he is Purple, and has a triangular antenna on his head. He is notable for a red magic bag 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 (played by John Simmit) is the second Teletubby. He is lime green and is called "Dipsy" because his straight antenna looks like a dipstick[source?]. He has a black and white furry top hat that he likes a lot. Dipsy is the most stubborn of the Teletubbies, and will sometimes refuse to go along with the other Teletubbies' opinion. His face and ears are notably dark
Laa-Laa (played by Nikky Smedley) is the third Teletubby. She is yellow, has a swirly antenna 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. Laa-Laa is one of the two girls in the teletubbies show.
Po (played by Pui Fan Lee) is the red Teletubby. She is the fourth of the Teletubbbies, and has an antenna that is round. Po is the smallest of the Teletubbies and gets into trouble the most. She also says the word "Eh-oh" (hello), a word used by herself and the other three Teletubbies.
Po's favorite object is her blue and pink 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 can speak two languages. Those languages are English (or the broadcasting country's language) and, for counting, Cantonese. For example, she says "Yat, yi, sam," which means "One, two, three." She is a problem solver and the best "spider-fighter". Po is also a Tomboy type.
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, who can speak Cantonese as well.
Although many are unsure of Po's gender, or think she is male, probably because of her scarlet/red color and tomboyish behaviour, she is explicitly female in several episodes, such as "Dad's Portrait" (Episode 216, first broadcast 1998) and "Numbers: 2" (Episode 30).
The antenna shapes of each Teletubby provides clues as to the character's names:
- Triangle: Tinky Winky
- Dipstick: Dipsy
- Loop: Laa-Laa
- "O" shape: Po
Noo-Noo (played by Mark Dean) is the Teletubbies' sentient automated blue vacuum cleaner, and then he turns orange. He cleans up after the Teletubbies ("Noo-Noo tidy up!"). It has been shown that Noo-Noo has extraordinarily large storage capacity. He also has the ability to spit out any contents, often things that it should not have consumed in the first place such as the Teletubbies' blankets, foods, or favorite things. Then he is called "Naughty Noo-Noo!"
Noo-Noo does not share the Teletubbies' enthusiasm for big hugs, resulting in Benny Hill style chase scenes around the dome when the Tubbies try to express their thankfulness, during which Noo-Noo does an 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 Voice Trumpets are devices resembling periscopes. They are also guardians of the Teletubbies. They live outside in the fields. They sometimes come out of the ground to talk to the Teletubbies. They can play games with the Teletubbies, usually games such as hide-and-seek.
- The Sun Baby (played and voiced by Jess Smith) appears at the beginning and the end of each episode. Her job is to wake up the Teletubbies.
- The Tubby Toaster is very unreliable, and often either leaves a Tubby without their toast or buries them under heaps of toast.
- 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, as well as announcing Magical Events, 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. 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. 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.[source?]
The Teletubbies' instrumentsEdit
Each of the Teletubbies plays a number of instruments.
- Tinky Winky: saxophone, flute, bassoon, clarinet, piccolo, oboe, recorder, English horn, and contrabassoon
- Dipsy: French horn, trombone, tuba, cornet, sousaphone, and euphonium
- Laa-Laa: xylophone, triangle, bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, timpani, castanets, maracas, tambourine, and glockenspiel
- Po: trumpet, violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, banjo, and mandolin
Tinky Winky started a still talked-about controversy in 1999 due to his carrying a bag that looks like a woman's handbag.
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 Tinky Winky was "in", or closeted. Falwell said it was because of the Teletubby's purple color, the "purse" (British for Handbag), and the triangle antenna which all represented homosexuality. Also, Tinky Winky dances in a tu-tu, which supporters of the theory may take as evidence.
This caused many Christians to boycott Teletubbies because it made them think that Teletubbies support homosexuality. 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". 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.
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 as well. The toy was recalled and it was revealed to have said "fidit, fidit," inspired by the Cantonese for "faster, faster."
The Lion and The BearEdit
In the episode "See-Saw" from (season 1) The Lion and The Bear came to Teletubbyland. The Lion is voiced by Eric Sykes and The Bear is voiced by Penelope Keith. In the original, many kids thought The Lion and The Bear was very scary and parents reported to the BBC that The Lion and The Bear was too scary. In the next season, they will do The Lion and The Bear again but this time with more careful Music and happier voices.
- Nickelodeon Home Entertainment (1998-2008)
- Franks, Nico (6 November 2015). "Nickelodeon takes Teletubbies reboot". C21 Media. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
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- Fullerton, Huw (16 June 2015). "From BT adverts and Teletubbies to Undercover – the screen journey of Daniel Rigby". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 27 January 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- "The Geology and Landscape of Teletubbyland".
- "Say 'Eh-Oh!' to the New-Look Teletubbies". DHX Media. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "The Trouble With Teletubbies". Commercialexploitation.org. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
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- "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.
- France-Presse, Agence (11 February 1999). "National News Briefs; Falwell Sees 'Gay' In a Teletubby" – via NYTimes.com.
- Dotinga, Randy (April 12, 2000). "Lawsuit to Target Teletubbies for Gun Talk". APBNews. Check date values in:
- http://crossroad.to/Q&A/Toys-Games/teletubbies.htm Teletubbies Q&A's
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