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Monday, March 1, 1999 Published at 16:20 GMT


Entertainment

Tubbies toast another three years

Teletubbies: Big hugs after new deal

Say "eh oh" to another three years of the Teletubbies, because Tinky Winky, Laa-Laa, Dipsy and Po are back for an additional 105 programmes.

The fab foursome will start filming the next bizarre series of big hugs, Tubby toast and falling down for no apparent reason at their set in Warwickshire this spring.

And fans will be relieved to hear that the BBC has not definitely decided that this is the last series.

Money-spinner

"We've only just commissioned this one. It's too early to say if this is the end. After all, 105 programmes should keep people busy for a while," said a spokeswoman.

Since their debut in 1997, the Teletubbies have mutated into a massive children's television phenomenon and rights to the show have been sold in every corner of the globe.

Their commercial success will have been a major consideration when BBC Broadcast and BBC Worldwide decided to commission the new set of programmes from independent producers Ragdoll Productions.

The Teletubbies made BBC Worldwide £23m last year, and the new deal will also have huge benefits for creator Ann Woods and Ragdoll Productions, which holds all its own licensing agreements with the Americas.

'Uneducational'

The Teletubbies have excited both controversy and adoration since they first appeared on British television.

The characters, who communicate in sing-song nonsense and keep televisions in their stomachs, have been criticised as uneducational and inane.

American preacher Reverend Jerry Falwell, a former spokesman for America's Moral Majority, even went as far as to blast Tinky Winky for being a gay icon and a poor role model to children.

For the most part, however, the Teletubbies have earned themselves the undying devotion of millions of pre-school children and, if truth be told, a fair few silent adult admirers too.





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