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Thursday, November 13, 1997 Published at 19:08 GMT


Teletubbies bigger than Buzz

Demand for Teletubby dolls is outstripping supply

Teletubby dolls are set to be the most sought-after toys in Britain this Christmas.

But, as with last year's most popular children's gift, the Buzz Lightyear doll, they are in short supply.

[ image: Snapped up as soon as they reach the shelves]
Snapped up as soon as they reach the shelves
The antics of Tinky Winky, Po, Dipsy and La La attract two million viewers in Britain every morning, making Teletubbies the most popular programme in the country at that time.

Some shops have already rationed Teletubby dolls to one per customer.

In previous years the Buzz Lightyear doll and Power Ranger figures caused chaotic scenes inside toy shops as demand from parents exceeded supply.

[ image: Some shops have started rationing]
Some shops have started rationing
Although a million Teletubbies have been made, last month only 300,000 had reached shops.

A few thousand more will be on sale before Christmas. But after that parents and children will have to wait until next year.

The BBC, which sells the television programme around the world, says international buyers were at first taken aback by the bizarre look of the dolls.

[ image: Some children will be disappointed]
Some children will be disappointed
But they have been won over by evidence that for children between one and four years old, it is compulsive viewing.

But it is the language, or lack of it, that has proved controversial.

Some experts say the babble used by Teletubbies discourages children from learning how to speak properly.

But the makers say they conducted careful research into how children's language develops before they made the programmes.

They say the key to the success of Teletubbies is that young fans are not patronised - they are entertained.

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