Entertainment

Teletubbies to celebrate 20th anniversary of hit TV show

The three-year-old who appeared in the first “tummy screen” film looks very different now.

TV show Teletubbies – which made Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po household names – turns 20 on Friday.

The series, in which the characters say “Eh Oh” and sport antennae on their heads, is now a huge hit, seen by around one billion children in more than 100 countries.

But its simple language and child-like movements were initially frowned upon by parents.

Po (left) and Tinky Winky (Ian West/PA)
Po (left) and Tinky Winky (Ian West/PA)

The three-year-old boy, Ned Frost, who starred in the very first “tummy screen” film in the debut episode of Teletubbies, is now a 23-year-old medical student, training to become a doctor in Newcastle.

“They were looking for a family riding bikes in London. I was very talkative, was filmed on my bike, and didn’t mind the camera,” he told the Press Association.

“Friends found out about the episode I was in and it was later used during a paediatrics teaching session to show child development,” he said.

 Ned Frost in Teletubbies (CBeebies/Ned Frost/PA)
Ned Frost in Teletubbies (CBeebies/Ned Frost/PA)

“I was in two more episodes.” he added. “And I still ride a bike, all the time.”

The original series was created by Anne Wood and Andy Davenport for the BBC, which is airing a new series.

CBeebies controller Kay Benbow said that it had been a “risk” commissioning the show.

Ned Frost is now a medical student (Ned Frost/PA)
Ned Frost is now a medical student (Ned Frost/PA)

But she added: “It was a risk that paid off and we are very proud of the show’s fantastic heritage and its continued success.”

Here are 10 facts about the show

:: Co-creator Andrew was inspired to create the movement and appearance of the Teletubbies by the astronauts from the 1969 moon landings, saying: “I found it funny that it represented the peak of human endeavour and here were elite astronauts looking and behaving like toddlers.”

:: The Teletubbies were originally going to be called the Teleteddies.

:: Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh reached number one in the UK charts in December 1997, selling more than 1,000,000 copies. The record deal with BMG was signed by then A&R executive Simon Cowell.

Simon Cowell (Joe Giddens/PA)
Simon Cowell (Joe Giddens/PA)

:: The original rabbits in the show were a domestic breed known as Flemish Giants. But the animals did not live up to their reputation and more animals had to be bought because they did not breed.

:: Toyah Willcox, Penelope Keith and Eric Sykes were among the actors who provided voices in the original series.

:: Wimbledon tennis champion Goran Ivanisevic said in 2001 that the Teletubbies helped him to relax before his matches.

Goran Ivanisevic (Steve Parsons/PA)
Goran Ivanisevic (Steve Parsons/PA)

:: Nick Kellington, who plays Dipsy, also plays Bistan from the rebel alliance in Star Wars: Rogue One.

:: At 7ft 11in to the top of his antennae, Tinky Winky is the biggest Teletubby.

:: Tubby custard is not as delicious as it looks – it was originally made from a mixture of mashed potato and red and yellow acrylic paint and smelt foul. Tubby Toast is made from home insulation foam.

:: The original Teletubbies merchandise was so popular that, collectively, it outsold all other Christmas toys twice over in 1997.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Topics

Categories

Entertainment