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Teletubbies celebrate 25th anniversary


Teletubbies celebrate 25th anniversary

Icons of British popular culture and the original disruptors of children’s television, the Teletubbies, are today celebrating their 25th anniversary.

Quite unlike anything the industry had ever seen before, Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po changed the face of preschool programming when they made their global broadcast debut on BBC Two in the UK on 31 March 1997.

The Teletubbies series has since reached over 1 billion children worldwide with a vast catalogue of 485 episodes. The original show has aired in over 120 territories, has been translated into 45 languages and received numerous prestigious international awards, including two BAFTAs, five LIMA Awards, four RTS Awards, the Prix Jeunesse and The Japan Prize.

The show turned the traditional kids content format on its head with the characters using, for the very first time, language and movement patterns that mimicked those of toddlers to help inspire development and communication. Many critics initially viewed the show as controversial, but they were quickly silenced by the millions of children who couldn’t stop saying “Again! Again!” after every episode as their demand for the Teletubbies grew, ultimately fueling a global toy and consumer products phenomenon.

As one of the first preschools shows to leverage consumer product tie-ins, its success extended well beyond broadcast. The Teletubbies brand became the No.1 UK toy license within a year of launch, reaching £1 billion in retail sales and selling an incredible 42 toys every minute. Over 33 million Teletubbies videos and DVDs have been sold and they were one of Simon Cowell’s first signings back in 1997 with their No. 1 hit “Teletubbies Say ‘Eh-oh!'” which shifted over one million copies and stayed in the top 75 for 29 weeks. At the peak of their popularity, the Teletubbies generated Beatles-esque hysteria that saw the paparazzi follow the actors to their homes and hide in bushes on set trying to get exclusive photos and the prize shot of the Teletubbies out of costume.

The year that Teletubbies launched, 1997, was also a seminal year for British popular culture and gave us such unforgettable moments as:

  • The Spice Girls’ debut BRIT Awards performance, which gave us Geri Halliwell’s infamous Union Jack mini-dress
  • England qualifying for the 1998 FIFA World Cup with David Beckham and Gareth Southgate in the squad
  • The publication of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Everyone “Tubthumping” to Chumbawamba’s 90s anthem
  • Six men from the steelworks in Sheffield taking over the silver screen in The Full Monty
  • The UK winning Eurovision with Katrina and the Waves’ hit song “Walking on Sunshine”
  • Channel 5 hit the air
  • The launch of the Teletubbies onto our TV screens on 31st March

Twenty-five years later and there are still no signs of the colourful quartet stopping! The Teletubbies are established social media sensations, with a huge fanbase following their verified accounts on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

In 2021, the Teletubbies dropped a new music album Ready, Steady, Go! with the title track receiving more than 2 million YouTube views and is also available to stream wherever you listen to music. Regulars on the entertainment show circuit on both sides of the Atlantic, the Teletubbies are also often seen at global fashion events and are proud supporters of the LGBT community. Their 25th anniversary marks many new beginnings for this groundbreaking brand…

2022 is set to be a year-long celebration for the Teletubbies across the globe as they continue to charm audiences with big hugs and exciting key moments, encompassing fashion, art and music, all reflecting the unique brand DNA of unexpected joy, development and diversity, whilst engaging fans young and young-at-heart.

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