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Halifax, NS – 31 March 2017 – There will be ‘big hugs’ all round on Friday, March 31, 2017 when one of the most iconic and influential preschool series of all time – Teletubbies – celebrates the 20th anniversary of when it first launched on screen in the UK.

4 fuzzy characters surrounded by balloons, with text "Celebrating Big Hugs Teletubbies 20"

The world first said “Eh-Oh” to Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po on March 31, 1997. The brightly coloured characters with their distinctive antennae, tummy tv screens, child-like movements, and simple language were like nothing ever seen before on children’s television.  The young audience was instantly captivated but it took a little longer to win the skeptical adult audience over.

But once the adult audience began to understand the thinking and developmental process behind the show and saw how it struck a chord with preschoolers, the tide started to turn. Parents scrabbled to find the latest ‘must have’ Teletubby toy for their children at Christmas, photographers hid in hedges around the set to get exclusive pictures of the actors and the fab four even hit the number one spot in the UK with their song “Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh”.

The original series, created by Anne Wood and Andy Davenport, and produced by Ragdoll Productions for the BBC, became known for its high production values and it went on to win numerous awards, including the Japan Prize Grand Prix, the most prestigious accolade in children’s educational television. Teletubbies is now one of the most successful global children’s brands of all time. It has reached over one billion children to date and the original episodes have aired in over 120 territories in 45 different languages. It was the very first western pre-school property to air on China’s CCTV, reaching an audience of 300 million children. 

In 2013, the brand was acquired by DHX Media and relaunched for TV audiences in 2015 with a new series commissioned by CBeebies. Filmed entirely in Twickenham Studios in London for DHX Media, the new series is now delighting a whole new generation of children in the UK, US and around the world.  On the anniversary itself, a brand new episode – Sliding Down – will air on CBeebies in the UK.

“When we bought Teletubbies back in 2013, we embarked upon a multiyear strategy to refresh Teletubbies and re-engage today’s kids said Steven DeNure, President & COO DHX Media,   Following the launch of our new Teletubbies series on CBeebies in the autumn of 2015, I'm happy to report that Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po are thriving.”

Kay Benbow, Controller CBeebies, said: “The BBC took a bold risk commissioning Teletubbies, it was a show unlike anything that had been seen before, but the corporation had absolute faith in Anne and Andrew’s original vision.   It was a risk that paid off and we are very proud of the show’s fantastic heritage and its continued success, with a new series entertaining children at home in the UK and around the world.”

The new series’ executive producer, Maddy Darrall from Darrall Macqueen, says: “It’s only every so often that such a classic global show like Teletubbies comes onto the children’s television landscape and I think for all of us it’s incredible that they’re still delighting children 20 years later.  Making new episodes and being part of the Teletubbies’ twentieth anniversary year has been fantastic for all the team involved – cast, crew, all the visual effects producers, the whole team.”

Teletubbies: Sliding Down, which introduces the Tubby Slidey for the first time can be seen on CBeebies on Friday March 31st at 7.00am.  The very first episode of the original 1997 series entitled Ned’s Bicycle can be seen on the Teletubbies YouTube channel.

For more information, please contact: Valerie Taylor 07889 666594


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