Teletubbies

One of the biggest crazes to hit children's television since the advent of Barney, the Teletubbies were created by producers Anne Wood and Andy Davenport, and made their televised debut on the BBC on March 30, 1997. Featuring the quartet of colorful characters Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po, the program was created in response to physical, social, and cognitive needs of infants and toddlers, although the show's surreal flavor, colorful imagery, and hypnotic pacing found favor among stoned twentysomethings as well. An immediate sensation in its native Britain, Teletubbies was also a ratings smash in the U.S., although Tinky Winky became the center of a media controversy in 1999 when Christian leader Jerry Falwell suggested the character was secretly gay. No, really. Despite the flap, the Teletubbies marketing machine remained in overdrive, and in addition to the usual toys and apparel there were also several officially licensed recordings, among them 1999's Say Eh-Oh and Nursery Rhymes and Other Fun Songs! Bedtime and Playtime Stories was issued a year later. In 2014, the franchise was revived with an order of 60 new episodes in the U.K. A year later, the world was introduced to the Tiddlytubbies, an octet of baby 'tubbies named Daa-Daa, Umby Pumby, Baa, Ping, Mi-Mi, Ruru, Nin, and Duggle Dee. In 2017, Big Hugs, a 19-track collection of Teletubbied versions of new songs and old classics, was released. ~ Jason Ankeny

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