TELETUBBIES: Are They Harmless Fun or Bad for Our Children?; THE QUESTION ON EVERY PARENT'S LIPS

By Swain, Gill | The Mirror (London, England), May 23, 1997 | Go to article overview

TELETUBBIES: Are They Harmless Fun or Bad for Our Children?; THE QUESTION ON EVERY PARENT'S LIPS


Swain, Gill, The Mirror (London, England)


Their names are Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa Laa and Po. They spend their time giggling and dashing about.

On the face of it, nothing could be gentler than these cuddly creatures decked out in brightly-coloured Babygros, which open to reveal tellies in their tummies.

Yet from the moment they appeared, the Teletubbies have enraged mummies across the land.

Parents bombarded the BBC and Radio Times with letters objecting to the "goo-goo style" of the programme and the repetitive phrases the creatures use.

They said the show was a bad influence on their children. That the Teletubbies' nonsensical speech and daft antics stopped their youngsters' development.

Mother of three Liz Duffy, 40, is one of the outraged parents.

"Teletubbies is boring and repetitive," she fumes. "The characters have ridiculous names and don't speak coherently.

"They say things like `haro'. I have gone to some trouble to help my children speak clearly. The last thing I want to hear them say is `haro'."

Teletubbies is bizarre and quite different from any children's TV show which has gone before.

Tinky Winky falls over a lot, Dipsy has a special song which goes "bptum bptum, bptum, bptum," Po sings in Cantonese and Laa Laa's favourite word is "nice".

They live underground, eating Tubby toast and Tubby custard and are looked after by a vacuum cleaner called Noo Noo.

W hen the programme visits the real world, the Teletubbies switch on the TV sets in their middles.

The screens show real two to four-year-olds doing practical things such as helping to wash up while babbling away in toddler talk.

Liz, from Royston, Herts, says: "My three-year-old son used to love watching Playdays with his brother and sister.

"We would make the things they showed us. I don't know why they got rid of Playdays. This new programme is just plain silly. …

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