Teletubbies, one of the most iconic and influential children’s series of the last twenty years, is sure to delight a whole new generation of children and their families when the brand new series featuring the loveable antics of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, bounces back onto CBeebies.
The new series will feature the same well-loved characters and styling as the original but will be visually enhanced, bringing a refreshed, colourful and contemporary look and feel to one of the world’s best-loved pre-school properties. A wonderful cast of British acting talent will be joining in the Tubby fun with Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Bridget Jones’s Diary), Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous, Little Voice), Daniel Rigby (Eric and Ernie), Fearne Cotton (Radio 1, Celebrity Juice), and Antonia Thomas (Misfits, Sunshine on Leith) providing distinctive voices and narration to the series.
Staying true to the original series Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po retain their loveable, huggable distinctive features but have been subtly updated to cater for today’s pre-schoolers. The Teletubbies now have 21st century Touch Screen Tummies, which will broadcast beautiful live action films, shot from a child’s perspective. Some familiar characters will be back, including the Teletubbies’ hoover-like companion Noo-noo, and the series will feature many exciting new elements too: The Teletubbies’ new gadget, the Tubby Phone (voiced by Jane Horrocks), will bring the Teletubbies bang up to date with technology, and a twirling, whirling Tubby Custard Ride will provide the characters with endless custardy chaos and fun.
Using pioneering technology, Teletubbyland and Home Hill have been visually enriched to create a magical environment for pre-schoolers to let their imaginations run wild. Intricate details such as stunning flowers, that viewers will see grow from buds into fully fledged blooms, will add bursts of glorious colour, and a new windmill, crafted from natural materials, is also part of the lush environment.
Global phenomenon Teletubbies first launched in March 1997 and became one of the most successful global children’s programmes of all time. It has reached over 1 billion children to date and the original episodes have aired in over 120 territories in 45 different languages. It was the very first western pre-school property to air on China’s CCTV reaching an audience of 300 million children. Its enduring resonance with children is further underscored by the brand’s postings on YouTube which garner almost 76 million views per month.
Multi-award-winning UK production company Darrall Macqueen (Topsy and Tim, Baby Jake) has been engaged to produce Teletubbies on behalf of DHX Media who own the rights to the show. Together they are pioneering a 21st century version of the show for a new generation of viewers.
The new series features 60 brand new 14 minute long episodes
The original series was filmed outdoors, but filming for the new series has been brought indoors into a studio in Twickenham, London using pioneering new production techniques
Many familiar outdoor elements remain including Home Hill and the Windmill. Even the positioning of the pathways remains faithful to the original series
The new Windmill has a more natural look and, in reality, is 25cm high
A 1:20 scale 3D printed model of Teletubbyland was built. Measuring 3m x 3m, it represents the 360 (degree) world around the Teletubbies’ home, known as Home Hill
There are 20,000 laser-cut flowers and 40,000 real dried flowers on the Teletubbies landscape model. The flowers were all hand-painted and placed onto the model to make them look natural and realistic
There are 4 varieties of flowers on the model- buttercups, poppies, daisies and cornflowers
The grass is 6mm high and was chopped and trimmed with nail scissors, hairdressing scissors and beard trimmers to give the natural feel of a meadow. Longer pieces of grass were also added by hand. After grass cutting, the model was sometimes hoovered with a hand vacuum
Teletubbyland has 5 variations of hillock. They are 4cm high on the model but, after clever compositing, an 8 foot tall Teletubby will stand on them.
The countryside horizon backdrop is modelled on the hills of Bourne End, Buckinghamshire
The size of the Teletubbies’ tummy screens have changed to reflect modern televisions and are now 16:9
The Noo-noo is the original Noo-noo, but lovingly restored with a brand new engine and colourful makeover
The Tubby Phone is a touch-screen phone which plays music, speaks and takes photos – the voice is that of Jane Horrocks!
The Dup Dup is a brand new lift connecting the Teletubbies’ dome and the hills. It replaces the slide which was used in the original series
The Tubby Custard Ride is a brand new toy for this series. It is 10 meters in length and splats out pink custard for the Teletubbies
Tubby Custard is made from a diuretic food thickener with added pink dye
The structure of the inside of the Teletubbies Home Hill is a large inflatable which requires constant air to keep it up. The Dome is 5 metres high and was deflated each night once filming had finished
The new series features a brand new Sun Baby! This iconic part is being played by 18 month old baby Berry from London, who replaces the original Sun Baby who is now 19!
The title sequence for the theme tune was recorded by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
The live action sequences which appear in the Teletubbies’ tummies are still a key feature of the show. Filmed from a child’s perspective, each short film corresponds to the theme of the episode. Instead of being shown again in its entirety, only highlights of the first film will be repeated in the new series.