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Teletubbies
Teletubbies.png
The main characters. From left to right: Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Po, and Tinky Winky.
Created by Anne Wood
Andrew Davenport
Developed by Ragdoll Productions for BBC Television
Starring Dave Thompson
Mark Heenehan
Simon Shelton
John Simmit
Nikky Smedley
Pui Fan Lee
Narrated by Tim Whitnall
Toyah Willcox
Eric Sykes
Opening theme Teletubbies say "Eh-oh!"
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 425 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) David G Hiller
Vic Finch
Running time 25 minutes
Release
Original network CBBC
Original release Original series:
31 March 1997 (1997-03-31)
16 February 2001 (2001-02-16)
Revival series:
9 November 2016 (2016-11-09) – present

Teletubbies is a British BBC children's television series for pre-school viewers. It was a show made from 31 March 1997 to 5 January 2001. It was made by Ragdoll Productions. Ragdoll's creative director Anne Wood CBE and Andrew Davenport made the show. They wrote all 365 episodes. The show had two narrators; Tim Whitnall (for the United Kingdom and Canada) and Rolf Saxon (for the United States). 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.

The show made new episodes until on 5 January 2001. Years later, a new series aired in 2015.

The story

The show takes place in a grassy, floral landscape populated by rabbits with bird calls heard in the background. The four Teletubbies live in an earth house 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 human-like puppets acting like four multicolored toddlers. They have TV screens in their stomachs and antennas on their heads. They live with a number of human-like objects (objects with human-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 playful interactions between the Teletubbies and 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 occurs once per episode. The activities are different from each episode but still very similar.

Characters

The Teletubbies

Tinky Winky

Tinky Winky, (played by Dave Thompson, Mark Heenehan, and Simon Shelton), is the first Teletubby. He is the largest of the Teletubbies, 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

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. 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 darker.

Laa-Laa

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

Po (played by Pui Lee Fan) 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).

Character Names

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

Color Skin

Other Characters

Noo-Noo

Noo-Noo (played by Mark Deans) 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'.

Supporting Characters

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.

Physical Cast

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.

The Teletubbies' instruments

Each of the Teletubbies plays a number of instruments.

Sponsors

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.

  • Direct TV (1999-2000)
  • KB Kids.com (1999-2001)
  • Playskool (1998-2008)
  • Kellogg's Rice Krispies (1998-1999)
  • Payless ShoeSource (2000-2001)
  • Dannon Danimals (2001-2002)
  • Yo-Baby (2007-2008)
  • Viewers Like You (1998-2008)
  • Thank You (1999-2008)
    • Nick Jr. (2016-present)

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