Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language

Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language

Article excerpt

I HAVE made another amazing discovery - that Alan Clark invented the Teletubbies.

But before getting on to that, let me mention another moment of astonishment that I experienced when my husband and I went to the cinema. The film was Mrs Brown. In one scene, Queen Victoria is anxious about the Prince of Wales, who has typhoid. If he recovers, she says, 'I shall have a Mass said in St George's Chapel, Windsor.'

That made me sit up. It was like hearing the Ayatollah Khomeini say, `This bacon sandwich is delicious.' To Queen Victoria, Masses meant blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits (though her son Bertie had visited Pope Pius IX just before his bout of typhoid).

Anyway, Mr Clark's unwitting invention of the popular children's heroes, the Teletubbies, derives from the family slang that he glosses in the notes to his published diaries.

The four main characters in Teletubbies are Tinky-Winky, Laa-Laa, Dipsy and Po. …

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