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article imageTeletubbies returning to television

By Sylvannia Soulet     Jun 16, 2014 in Entertainment
Time for Teletubbies! After more than ten years of reruns, the UK-based children’s program is to have a second life thanks to a Canadian production company.
Halifax-based DHX Media Ltd. purchased Ragdoll Worldwide in 2013 and acquired the rights to the Teletubbies franchise. Now, it will produce 60 new episodes for the BBC channel CBeebies.
Teletubbies is about four technicolour babies — Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po — who live in a magical land overseen by a laughing infant sun. The show became a media sensation in the late 1990s for its surreal imagery and simplistic plot, and also a subject of controversy in 1999 when televangalist Jerry Falwell accused the handbag-touting Tinky-Winky of promoting homosexuality (both the show’s creators and the BBC have since gone on the record to refute this claim.)
Controversy aside, the show was an international hit for both pre-school aged children and adults alike; the Christmas of 1998 gave Tickle Me Elmo a run for its money with the sale of the Teletubby dolls, emphasizing the show's merchandising strength.
There have been as many episodes of Teletubbies as there are days in the year, but the show has lived on in reruns since 2001. Now with the creation of new episodes, CGI will play a bigger role in production, emphasizing how much technology has changed in the past decade.
"For a kid watching that now, it's no longer a television, it's a screen you can hold in your hand,” said Steven DeNure, president and chief operating officer of DHX Media. “We think there are some really interesting creative opportunities on that front as we develop new Teletubbies."
The decision to utilize CGI in the newer episodes is partially artistic license, but also out of necessity. During the original run, the show had been filmed outdoors on a farm in the U.K. – that area has since been torn down and converted into a pond.
DHX hopes to capitalize on the viral nature of the show by airing it not only through traditional television broadcasts, but also through streaming services such as Netflix and DHX’s own dedicated Youtube channel.
Says Denure about this new accessibility: "The whole notion of shelf space kind of goes out the window."
The return of Teletubbies comes at the heels of an apparent children’s programming renaissance: last month, a successful Kickstarter campaign helmed by LeVar Burton saw the return of Reading Rainbow, and just last week, Netflix announced its intention to reboot The Magic School Bus.
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