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Wednesday, February 17, 1999 Published at 14:39 GMT


New dawn for Teletubbies

Teletubbies: Now seen in 20 countries around the world

It's a sunny day in Teletubby land - but in South Korea, there's a different face beaming down on Laa Laa, Dipsy, Tinky Winky and Po.

The BBC children's programme, which has become a massive hit around the world, has just been sold to South Korean broadcaster KBS-2.

But although the show was an enormous hit with local children - beating all home-grown shows in its daily timeslot - KBS-2 decided to change the face of the sun baby which gazes down at the cuddly foursome.

[ image: Time for a new face: The Korean sun baby at full beam]
Time for a new face: The Korean sun baby at full beam
The familiar image of British child Jessica Smith's face has been used when the programme has been sold abroad before, but now South Korean viewers will see a local child giggling at the start of every show.

A spokeswoman for BBC Worldwide, which markets the programme, said: "It's the first time the Koreans have bought in a foreign programme for their pre-school children.

"This is going to happen now in all the other Asian markets because the culture is so different."

The new face is not the only change. Tinky Winky has now been renamed Bora Dori, Laa Laa is now Na-Na, Dipsy is Tubi and Po is Ppo.

Inserts in the show featuring real children have also been reshot.

[ image: Rev Jerry Falwell: Convinced Tinky WInky is gay]
Rev Jerry Falwell: Convinced Tinky WInky is gay
Video sales in the country have also been strong - with 100,000 copies of Dance With Teletubbies and Here Come The Teletubbies being sold within the first four weeks of their release.

The programme - made for the BBC by Ragdoll Productions - has been sold around the world since its launch in the UK in March 1997.

"It's now being shown in 20 countries, from Singapore to Australia, and we're looking at signing new deals soon," added the spokeswoman.

Last week, American preacher Jerry Falwell denounced the programme as a bad influence because he considered Tinky Winky's handbag to be evidence of homosexuality.

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