Teletubbies to celebrate 20th anniversary of hit TV show
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.
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.
“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.
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.
:: 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.
:: 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.