Teletubbies is a British BBC children's television series targeted at pre-school viewers and produced from 31 March 1997 to 5 January 2001 by Ragdoll Productions. It was created by Ragdoll's creative director Anne Wood CBE and Andrew Davenport, who wrote each of the show's 365 episodes. The programme's original narrator was Tim Whitnall. Teletubbies was also aired internationally in the United States on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) public television on 6 April 1998 and aired until 19 June 2005. It would continue to air reruns until 29 August 2008, when it was pulled from the schedule along with Mister Rogers Neighborhood and Boohbah. In 2002, production was cancelled and it was announced that no new episodes would be produced, with the last episode being aired on 5 January 2001. However, a total of 365 episodes had been produced – enough for a full year.
Teletubbies, particularly notable for its high production values, rapidly became a critical and commercial success in Britain and abroad and won a BAFTA in 1998. Teletubbies Everywhere was awarded "Best Pre-school Live Action Series" at the 2002 Children's BAFTA Awards.
Although the programme is aimed at children between the ages of one and four, it had a substantial cult following with older generations, mainly university and college students. The mixture of bright colours, unusual designs, repetitive non-verbal dialogue, ritualistic format, and the occasional forays into physical comedy appealed to many who perceived the programme as having psychedelic qualities. Teletubbies was controversial for this reason. Other critics felt the show was insufficiently educational.
The programme was also at the centre of a controversy when American televangelist and conservative pundit Jerry Falwell claimed in 1999 that Tinky Winky, one of the Teletubbies, was a homosexual role model for children. Falwell based this conclusion on the character's purple colour and triangular antenna; both the colour purple and the triangle are sometimes used as symbols of the Gay Pride movement. 'Teletubbies say "Eh-oh!"', a single based on the show's theme song, reached number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in December 1997 and remained in the Top 75 for 32 weeks, selling over a million copies.
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