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Thursday, December 25, 1997 Published at 18:05 GMT



UK

Teletubbies take top toy slot
image: [ They may not look tough but they beat off Action Man's challenge ]
They may not look tough but they beat off Action Man's challenge

They are fat, furry and this year's Christmas best seller. Those tubby, custard-eating characters, the Teletubbies have been bought by thousands of parents desperate to make the festive season complete for their offspring.

Around one million have been sold in the run-up to December 25 - although manufacturer Golden Bear believes it could have sold three times that amount if supplies had been available.

Limited stocks of Spice Girls dolls ensured that, despite their success in the pop charts, this was one number one spot the feisty fivesome were not going to snatch from Dipsy, Tinky Winky, Laa-Laa and Po.

However, analysts believe sales of the 300,000 dolls which managed to reach the shelves before Christmas were strong enough to nudge them into fifth place in the toy charts.

Action Man, first voted toy of the year in 1966, and Barbie proved that updated versions of old favourites still hit the spot by taking second and third place.

Fourth place went to virtual pets, launched by Tamagotchi in May and an immediate hit, sparking mass panic as suppliers struggled to meet overwhelming demand.

The British Association of Toy Retailers' chart does not cover electronic game sales.

There has been fierce competition in this sector too with Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64 selling well after slashing their prices.

The fastest selling video game this year has been Final Fantasy VII.

Gerry Masters of the British Association of Toy Retailers said overall it had been a good year for toys.

"We had the cyber pet mania over the summer, then the Teletubbies and the Spice Girls which all helped to draw attention to toys," he said.

"We face a lot of competition from new hi-tech entertainments including video games and computers.

"As the popularity of Barbie and Action Man show, the old favourites never lose their appeal. But it isn't just the hyped toys that have been selling, people are buying all sorts of things - thank goodness."

Other toys in the best-selling list include Star Wars figures, Lego Buckets, Beanie Babies, Magical Moving Polly Pocket, Buzz Lightyear and Tickle-Me-Elmo - a purple Sesame Street character who shakes with laughter.
 





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