On Wednesday, Netflix announced a slate of preschool programming, including a reboot of the long-running Teletubbies, which will debut on the streaming platform in November. The series has run for a total of nine seasons over the course of 19 years, first from 1997 until 2001, and then again from 2015 until 2018. Originally created for the BBC, the series centers on four differently coloured characters known as the Teletubbies, each of whom has a television screen in their belly, a uniquely-shaped antenna on their head, and communicates in nonsense sounds. The characters were modeled after, and primarily appealed to, toddlers.
During its heyday, the series won numerous BAFTAs and was nominated for two Emmys. It spawned a best-selling album and generated about $2 billion in merchandise sales. The Netflix revival will be narrated by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess.
You can see a first look at the new Teletubbies below.
While the original series ended years ago, it has never been out of circulation for long. Episodes have re-run on Pluto TV, the Noggin app, and Nick Jr.
In spite of its huge popularity, the most memorable pop culture impression made by the Teletubbies is probably a nonsensical controversy in the U.S. In 1999, a televangelist claimed that Tinky Winky -- the purple Teletubby, who carried a satchel that some say resembles a woman's handbag -- was a "gay role model." Some religious and conservative voices complained that the show was being quietly subversive with its young audience as a result. The BBC released an official response, explaining that "Tinky Winky is simply a sweet, technological baby with a magic bag." Kenn Viselman of Itsy-Bitsy Entertainment, one of the production studios involved with the series, later said, "He's not gay. He's not straight. He's just a character in a children's series."
Here's Netflix's official synopsis:
Join colorful friends Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po on wonder-filled adventures as they learn and grow in this 21st century refresh of the beloved preschool series, now narrated by Emmy-nominee Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). Each episode includes new, original "Tummy Tales" songs that will have the entire family dancing along!
Other series announced as part of today's preschool lineup include Spirit Rangers (Nov. 10), about three siblings who help protect the land and spirits of the national park they call home; and Princess Power (2023), based on the book Princesses Wear Pants by Savannah Guthrie and Allison Oppenheim.1comments