British children's television series

Teletubbies is a British children's television series for preschool viewers that aired on CBeebies. It was a show made from 31 March 1997 to 16 February 2001. The pilot was made in 1997 It was developed by Ragdoll Productions and created by director Anne Wood CBE and Andrew Davenport who 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 Kids version). Teletubbies was also shown on television 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 and returned on PBS Kids Pluto TV on May 1, 2019.[7]

Teletubby dolls
Created byAnne Wood
Andrew Davenport
Developed byRagdoll Productions (Original Series)
Darrall Macqueen (Revived Series)[1]
StarringOriginal series:
Dave Thompson
Simon Shelton
John Simmit
Nikky Smedley
Pui Fan Lee
Mark Dean
Jessica Smith
Robin Stevens
Toyah Wilcox
Revived series:
Jeremiah Krage
Nick Kellington
Rebecca Hyland
Rachelle Beinart
Olly Taylor
Berry Smith
Victoria Jane
Luisa Guerreiro
Voices ofOriginal series:
Toyah Willcox
Penelope Keith
John Simmit
Gary Stevenson
Alex Hogg
Alex Pascall
Rudolph Walker
Eric Sykes
Mark Heenehan
Sandra Dickinson (US)
John Schwab (US)
Toni Barry (US)
Dena Davis (US)
Revived series:
Jane Horrocks
Jim Broadbent
Fearne Cotton
Antonia Thomas
Teresa Gallagher
Rob Rackstraw
David Walliams
Rochelle Humes[2]
Ralph Reay
Narrated byTim Whitnall (songs only in the US)[3]
Toyah Wilcox (titles and credits only)
Rolf Saxon (US)
Daniel Rigby[4]
Antonia Thomas (titles and credits only)
Opening theme"Teletubbies say 'Eh-oh!'"
Composer(s)Andrew McCorrie-Shand (Original series)
Robert Hartley
BBC Philharmonic
Richie Webb
Matt Katz (Revival series)
Country of originUnited Kingdom = Canada (2015-18)
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons9
No. of episodes485 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Anne Wood
David G. Hiller
Vic Finch (Original Series)
Maddy Darrall
Billy Macqueen (Revival Series)
Production location(s)Wimpstone, England (1997–2001)[5]
Twickenham Studios, West London, England (2015–2018)
Running time25 minutes (original series)
15 minutes (revival series)
Production company(s)Original series
Ragdoll Productions
Revival series
DHX Media
Darrall Macqueen
DistributorBBC Worldwide (Original Series)
DHX Media[6] (Revival Series)
Original networkOriginal series

New Series

Picture format
  • 4:3 (1997-2001)
Audio format
Original releaseOriginal series:
31 March 1997 (1997-03-31)
16 February 2001 (2001-02-16)
Revived series:
9 November 2015 (2015-11-09) –
12 October 2018 (2018-10-12)
Followed byTeletubbies Everywhere
The Tiddlytubbies
Other websites

The show made new episodes until 16 February 2001. Years later, a new series aired in 2015.[8]

The story change

The show takes place in a grassy, floral planet referred to as Teletubbyland with rabbits and bees. Calls of birds are heard in the background. The Teletubbytrons, or the Teletubbies for short, are a family of four colourful monkey-like toy telerobots. They have TV screens in their stomachs and antennas on their heads. They live in Teletubbyland with many automated objects (with lemur-like characteristics) such as the Noo-Noo, a blue (after blue, pink and golden) vacuum cleaner, and the Voice Trumpets, a set of speakers shaped like shower heads.

The Teletubbies live in a hill house known as the Tubbytronic Superdome. Located in the ground, it has three entrances, which are a hole at the top and four large half-semicircular doors at the dome's front and back feet.

In 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.

Characters change

The Teletubbies change

Tinky Winky change

Tinky Winky "Tinkus Winkus" Teletubby (played by Dave Thompson, Mark Heenehan, and Simon Shelton in the original series and by Jeremiah Krage in the revived series) is the first Teletubby. He is the largest Teletubby, he is purple, and has a triangular antenna on his head. He is notable for the 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 change

Dipsy Teletubby (played by John Simmit in the original series and Nick Kellington in the revived series) is the second Teletubby. He is lime green and is called "Dipsy" because his straight antenna looks like a dipstick. 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' opinions. His face and ears are notably dark.

Laa-Laa change

Laa-Laa Teletubby (played by Nikky Smedley in the original series and Rebecca Hyland in the revived series) 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 favourite 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 change

Po Teletubby (played by Pui Fan Lee in the original series and Rachelle Beinart in the revived series) is the red Teletubby. She is the fourth of the Teletubbies 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 favourite 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 and singing, Cantonese. For example, she says "Yatt, yit, 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 colour 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).

Character Names change

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

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

Skin Colour change

  • ~~Tinky Winky~~: {{{1}}}
  • ~~Dipsy~~: {{{1}}}
  • ~~Laa-Laa~~: {{{1}}}
  • ~~Po~~: {{{1}}}

Other Characters change

Noo-Noo change

Little Telenoo-Noo (played by Mark Dean), also known as simply the Little Noo-Noo or Little Telenoo, is the Teletubbies' sentient blue pet elephant-like toy telerobotic vacuum cleaner creature who then turns orange, gold and pink. He cleans up after the Teletubbies ("Noo-Noo tidy up!"). It has been shown that the Noo-Noo has an extraordinarily large storage capacity. He also can vomit out any content, often things that he should not have consumed in the first place such as the Teletubbies' blankets, foods or favourite things. Then he is called Naughty Noo-Noo.

The 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 the Noo-Noo does an impression of a Formula 1 car engine in full flight. The Teletubbies always win and give the Noo-Noo a ''big hug''.

Supporting Characters change

Although non-sentient, the other machines of the Tubbytronic Superdome also play a major role in many episodes.

  • The Voice Trumpets are a group of five speakers resembling shower heads. 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 Giggly Baby Sun (played and voiced by Jess Smith in the original series and by Berry (surname unknown) in the revived series) is a young sun that 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 Teletubby often chooses to amuse themselves ("Adjustments!"), although the outcome is normally limited to a variety of loud and surprising noises being generated.
  • The Tubby Phone is next to the Tubby Sponge Cases, which contain the Tubby Sponges ("Wash, wash, wash. Wash, wash, wash. Tubby, Tubby, Tubby, Tubby. Wash wash wash").
  • Outside, the Magic Windmill not only generate energy to power the Superdome, but it also 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 (only in the original series).

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, the Rabbits and the Bees. The Birds are planned to be in the TV series but only heard off-screen.

Physical Cast change

The only physical cast members are John Schwab and Sandra Dickson, who play the Voice Trumpets, Penelope Keith, who plays the Brown, Fuzzy Bear with Brown, Fuzzy Hair, Eric Sykes, who plays the Big, 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.[9] Her giggle was included in the single Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh! Although not credited, this makes her technically the youngest person ever whose vocals appeared on a number-one song.[source?]

Series overview change

Original series change

Series Episodes First episode Final episode
1 118 31 March 1997 31 December 1997
2 126 1 January 1998 31 December 1998
3 56 1 January 1999 17 December 1999
4 30 31 July 2000 22 December 2000
5 35 1 January 2001 16 February 2001

Revival series change

Series Episodes First episode Final episode
1 60 9 November 2015 4 November 2016
2 60 13 March 2017 12 October 2018

The Teletubbies' instruments change

Each of the Teletubbies plays a single instrument.

Controversy change

Tinky Winky change

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 colour, the "purse" (British for Handbag) and the triangle antenna which all represented homosexuality. Also, Tinky Winky dances in a tutu, which supporters of the theory may take as evidence.

This caused some 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".[10] A spokesman for The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company, which 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 saying "Again, again!", a catchphrase from the show.[11]

Po change

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 a gay pride symbol might take this as evidence as well. The toy was recalled and it was revealed to have said "fi-dit, fi-dit", which was inspired by Cantonese for "faster, faster".[12]

The Lion and The Bear change

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 were very scary and parents reported to the BBC that The Lion and The Bear were 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.

Sponsors change

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.

Cancellation change

In 2019, it was announced that Teletubbies was axed by the BBC. Later on, it was announced that the Netflix series would be released in 2022.

Related pages change

References change

  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. Archived from the original on 27 January 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  5. "The Geology and Landscape of Teletubbyland".
  6. "Say 'Eh-Oh!' to the New-Look Teletubbies". DHX Media. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  7. "The Trouble With Teletubbies". Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  8. "CBBC wants first tenders | News | Broadcast". Broadcast 29 June 2001. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  9. "Singles : Artists : Age". Record Breakers and Trivia. 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.
  10. France-Presse, Agence (11 February 1999). "National News Briefs; Falwell Sees 'Gay' In a Teletubby". The New York Times.
  11. Dotinga, Randy (April 12, 2000). "Lawsuit to Target Teletubbies for Gun Talk". APBNews. Archived from the original on May 10, 2000. Retrieved July 30, 2022.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  12. Teletubbies Q&A's

Other websites change