Saturday 17 March 2018

Again! Again! New generation of Teletubbies to say Eh-oh

The Teletubbies are back for a new generation of pre-school children
The Teletubbies are back for a new generation of pre-school children

Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po are ready to say "Eh-oh" to a new generation of children as Teletubbies returns.

The colourful quartet still live over the hills and far away and have screens in their tummies which show short films.

But now they are in high definition and their tubby custard comes in bubbles out of the funnel of their new train ride, complete with The Voice style spinning seats.

The original series was shown between 1997 and 2001 and, although the characters remain hugely popular, broadcasters are gradually turning their backs on shows which are not HD.

Steven DeNure, president of DHX Media which acquired the rights to Teletubbies two years ago when it bought Ragdoll Worldwide, said the decision to make 60 new episodes was taken because the show is still so popular that 75 million people watch it on YouTube each month.

"We know that it's hugely popular worldwide but we can no longer place the older episodes with broadcasters so we thought why not make some new ones?" he told the Press Association.

He said the new shows look and feel the same as the old ones but use the type of technology used on the Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings films.

CBeebies controller Kay Benbow said the channel was reaching the point where it could no longer show the original episodes because the quality "wasn't good enough" but she was determined the new stories would return to the channel where the series was first shown.

"Teletubbies was and is the iconic show for the pre-school audience. I was determined the new series wasn't going anywhere else," she said.

Ms Benbow said the secret of the show's popularity is that it is audience focused.

"Children see themselves in the Teletubbies," she said. "It's also funny. The humour that comes from what children say and do."

Although some aspects of the show are new - like the tubby custard ride - she did not want it to stray too far from the original, she said.

Stars who attended the launch of the new series at the BFI Southbank, in central London, included Fearne Cotton - who voices one of the Voice Trumpets - JLS star JB Gill, Downton Abbey actress Laura Carmichael and actress and comedian Jennifer Saunders.

:: Teletubbies starts at 7.25am on November 9 on CBeebies.

Press Association

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