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Apr 14

TELETUBBIES – “Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!”

Popular66 comments • 8,968 views

#778, 13th December 1997

ehoh My main point last entry was that “Perfect Day” saw the BBC applying its gift for pop spectacle to the demands of a more curatorial time. This would become – on broadcast TV particularly – an era of tighter demographics and multiplying niches, and the BBC would respond. BBC3, BBC4, 1Xtra, 6Music, CBBC, and in 2002 CBeebies, its channel for the under-6s, anchored for years by Teletubbies reruns.

In the old TV model, Top Of The Pops and the charts had enjoyed a happy symbiosis. With that show well along its slow decline, the charts were left without a centre. Instead they had new outlets – the supermarkets, and Woolworths, increasingly determined what reached No.1. As James Masterton pointed out in the comments for “Perfect Day”, this meant a dramatic broadening of the singles audience – the number of people visiting Tescos or Asda dwarfed the HMV or Our Price customer base, and included millions of musical impulse buyers. Put a tempting single in front of them and your sales could be colossal.

“Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh” is where these trends meet. It’s plainly a niche record with barely an eye or a furry antenna on wider accessibility. But there are enough people in that niche (parents of pre-school kids, basically) to give it seven figure sales. An awful lot of Number Ones are loved by children – the playground reception of a song has always been crucial – but this is the first number one designed for infants.

Which is entirely in keeping with its show’s aggressively radical spirit. Teletubbies was hugely successful and immediately controversial – a clean break from how pre-school TV had been done. It ditched the reassuring adult presenter in favour of a toddler’s perspective on pacing and action. In practise this meant very little explicit education or storytelling: replacing it was scripted babble-talk from the four tubbies, long sequences of dancing and messing about, cutaways to pieces of real-world play, and stories based on endless repetition of simple actions. The formula of younger kids’ TV, with its avuncular bumblers and well-scrubbed ladies telling stories and stacking up bricks, had been torn up. In its place was a show parents might find agonisingly boring but that one- and two-year olds quickly found magical.

The Teletubbies were at once the Beatles and the Pistols of pre-school TV – dramatic commercial success, remarkable innovation and a scorched earth attitude. It’s notable that none of their successors has been as extreme as they did – to take the inheritor shows on when I was the Dad of very young kids, In The Night Garden reintroduces the gentle adult narrator, and Baby Jake keeps the baby-first action but within a stronger story structure. The Teletubbies went further than anyone, first.

Squeezing that radicalism into a pop single was tricky. The writers’ solution is to structure “Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh” around a sped-up take on the theme tune, and break it up with incident – the gurgling and squelching of tubby custard, or a drop-in of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” with a baaing, mooing barnyard orchestra. The vibe is benign chaos.

But even within this single, their abandon is bounded. Teletubbyland is a carnival space, a world to play with but one policed by the movement of the sun (voiced by Toyah Wilcox!) and by abstract, unseen authorities. “Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh” ends as it begins, with peace, quiet and gentle chuckles. As a parent, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but as a piece of children’s culture muscling into the semi-adult world – the charts – it becomes vulnerable to other interpretations. Not just the “is Tinky Winky gay?” faux-controversy, or the show’s being dragged into the recurring debates around ‘dumbing down’, but more playful parallels. The screen-bellied tubbies drew comparisons to Cronenberg, and their life in a kind of kindergarten holiday camp (and their habit of playing with a giant beach ball) recalled The Prisoner. My own contribution to this disreputable canon is that the male voice (“Time for Teletubbies!”) massively reminds me of Tony Blair.

But you don’t need these extra readings to find subtext in this record. Towards the end, where a middle eight might go, some flowers give a very pert take on “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary”. This is where the song tips its hand, giving two pudgy plush fingers to the kids’ TV Teletubbies usurped. The flowers, in their Received Pronunciation mimsiness, very obviously represent that didactic tradition of rhymes and stories, and after singing they tut at the Tubbies and their “racket”.

Which – of course – starts right up again with the series’ catchprase (and parents’ bane) “Again, again!”. If “Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh” is annoying (and it is, a bit) it’s the deliberate, confrontational annoyance of “Mr Blobby” turned to a more specific end: to tell adults that this isn’t for you. And in doing that it drives home Ragdoll’s point in making the show in the first place: Teletubbies isn’t for you because toddlers aren’t like you. They are not best served by culture that treats them as latent schoolchildren or adults but by culture that takes their play and their desires seriously as they are. If this song’s presence at #1 is a sign of nicheification, its content and success is a good advert for it.

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Comments

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  1. 1
    punctum on 7 Apr 2014 #

    I have to say that in those days which we had seen, it was not unknown for us to stumble back home after an energetic night of clubbing, switch on the TV and gaze amazed at the early Sunday morning screening of Teletubbies – the BBC noticed the abnormally high ratings the programme was getting at that time before fieldwork revealed that not only tots and their parents were watching it, but also clubbers newly returned home, some (not us) still feeling Ecstatic; and the laughing baby sun, the primary colours, the nursery rhymes, the non-sequiturs and the generally disorientating sense of (non-)order in the programme made perfect sense to those coming down from the rave era.

    Yet Teletubbies was about nothing if not innocence; designed specifically for 1-4 year old infants and toddlers, its gentle aim was to introduce its audience into the world by communicating with it on its own terms. Thus the camera shots which were always angled, widened and from the ground up to obviate any sense of perspective; no one really knew how big or small the white dome which housed the Teletubbies was, or the landscape in general, since they were the equivalent of toddlers, eagerly welcoming the opportunity to make (non)sense of this exciting new phenomenon called life. Pundits objected to the half-formed, largely consonant-free language which they spoke – “eh-oh” for “hello” – whereas those with direct, hands-on experience of raising very young children know that this is exactly how they communicate with others and learn to form what we know as language; similarly the persistent repetition in each episode – the films which emanated from their TV bellies were almost always shown twice, with extremely subtle differences – was criticised, but constant repetition is exactly how infants learn things, take things on, absorb things, ways of thinking, means of talking. The controversy over Tinky-Winky’s “handbag” was equally pointless and ignorant of the role playing and imitating of their forebears – and especially their mothers – in which young children naturally indulge, since this is another way of learning about how other humans live, react and interact. The Teletubbies were essentially asexual, and their behavioural patterns therefore interchangeable.

    Furthermore, and absolutely crucially, the Teletubbies were never afraid of newness, or technology. Do those features – the seemingly imposing dome with its sliding doors, the periscopes which rise from the ground to issue Tannoy instructions, the paradisical living space which is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, the televisions themselves, actually grafted onto the Teletubbies as an integral part of their existence – remind you of something else from thirty years previously? As children the Teletubbies see everything as new and exciting and harness the technology for their own good; it has not yet become something to be feared and hated. True, Noo-Noo the self-reliant vacuum cleaner, sometimes gets a little bossy, but that is speedily resolved by a Benny Hill-style mass chase around the premises. Whereas, at the opposite end of life, The Prisoner represents what happens when you become a tired adult, too weary to accept newness, too ready to settle for voluntary confinement; we all become imprisoned by our former technological desires. No wonder that in order to get anything out of Number 6, Leo McKern finally has to resort to regressing him to infancy; less wonder still that once free of the Village, McGoohan, McKern and Kanner all immediately start to act like children (note the Ken Kesey sidelong reference in that truck on wheels with added “Dem Bones” on primetime mainstream television), happy and boundless.

    But of course Teletubbies also represents the late fulfilment of a promise from the people of 1967 to their own children; once again the idea of a happy, sunny, interdependent community which need rely only on its own innate reserves of collective goodwill. “Teletubbies Say ‘Eh-oh!” as a record also carries unmistakable auras from that year; essentially an extended version of the show’s theme tune, it is at times sufficiently disorganised to warrant valid 1967 comparison; uncredited vocalist Tim Whitnall (the show’s narrator), though sounding uncannily like Neil Tennant at the beginning with his spoken entreaties of “Time for Teletubbies!,” doesn’t even bother attempting perfect pitch – and nor do the Teletubbies themselves – when singing the “Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Po” refrain; it seems as offhand as the Syd of “Apples And Oranges.” The electronic whooshes which arise from the making of “Tubby Tustard,” complete with excited squeals, are worthy of Meek; the sequence where a Fairlight sheep rendition of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” degenerates into random baaing and mooing could almost have come straight from the original SMiLE cutting room floor (“Barnyard” anyone?); and the only misplaced factor is a croaking rendition of “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (which may or may not be Toyah) which ends in a mutter of “I’m so glad that’s finished – what a terrible racket!” and lends an unwelcome air of irony to proceedings which do not need it at all.

    Most important of all, however, are the quartet’s regular cries of “Big hug!” (“Enjoy yourselves” advises the sleeve, “…and don’t forget the Big Hugs”), and if that isn’t the spirit of ’67 unspoiled I don’t know what is. Finally there is the wonderful framing device of the quiet pastoral landscape of birds and baby laughter which bookends the song, as though coming into and out of a utopian dream – this is what life could be like, if we only had the courage. If it is not untoward to invoke Thomas Traherne, the “infinite capacity of the soul at birth” sums up the ethos of Teletubbies with succinct nobility.

  2. 2
    lonepilgrim on 7 Apr 2014 #

    not again, again

  3. 3
    Kinitawowi on 7 Apr 2014 #

    No.

    I don’t care that the rating system doesn’t go this low.

    0.

  4. 4
    Jonathan on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Kinda a niche record, sure, but also kinda the point where the heteronormative steamroller that is The Family becomes so powerful that even culture targeted at parents’ four-year-olds becomes mass. (Toddlers might be the audience, but they’re not the ones handing money over for the thing.) Not sure why the UK charts in particular are so susceptible to this stuff; Billboard’s oddities at least usually take the form of stray regional rap hits.

  5. 5
    Middlerabbit on 7 Apr 2014 #

    I don’t know if this is the first number one aimed specifically at toddlers. To be a bit pedantic, it’s aimed at parents of toddlers, isn’t it? Bearing in mind toddlers’ limited funds and transport.

    My perspective is that Tellytubbies’ main effect was to encourage children to hug each other a lot more than they previously had. I was working in schools at this point in time and it as notable that kids – who in previous generations would never even touch one another unless it as in the context of (play)fighting – now hugged each other at the start and end of playtime as if they were long lost buxom buddies. I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing, just a thing.

    Perhaps it wasn’t Tellytubbies that started off the touchy feely thing, I don’t know, but it certainly coincided with the phenomena. Did you hug your mates in the 1970s? I didn’t, and I didn’t know anyone who did.

    The record is aimed at people with no real ability to remember anything about anything. If you want to sing along, you don’t need to remember any of the words because everything’s echoed immediately after its initial appearance. Perhaps this is a bit harsh, bearing in mind who this is aimed at, but learning the words of songs without someone constantly prompting you is basically how it worked before this, isn’t it? Repetition? Great. Absolutely. This isn’t repetition like the programme had repetition with the films, which were quite nice. This is the repetition that Johnny Rotten foresaw when he said, ‘they made you a moron’. They sure did.

    There’s no dance. Just waving. Hence, I’d say, it’s not really aimed at toddlers as such as it is aimed at babies.

    Babies of parents who have absolutely no ideas about how to go about entertaining their children. Babies didn’t bug their parents for the record because the target audience have no language at this point in their development. Parents bought it for their children because they couldn’t think of anything else to do with their babies, not because their babies wanted it. That’s an important difference.

    This is a record that celebrates complacency. There is nothing to aspire to in this record. Children are very aware of age differences, even if they don’t understand them very well. Young kids vehemently dislike being patronised and will not hesitate to call things babyish.

    Parents are the opposite. They tend to like their kids being kids and dislike seeing them grow older.

    In a small zoo near our house there is a salamander kept in a state of permanent juvenility. The conditions in his tank are kept so that he cannot reach maturity. I find it quite sad in a way.

    Perhaps the longer and longer period of youth that is upon us now is an effect of Tellytubbies. Kidults, all that. It’s tempting to not grow up, but if you have kids, probably you have to, even if you don’t like the idea of it.

    Maybe Tellytubbies didn’t start this acceptance – and encouragement – to resist acting your age, maybe it’s symptomatic. Maybe discussing pop music at my age is hypocritical of me, bearing in mind what I’m writing here. I wouldn’t rule it out…

    However, this is horrendous. Not the handbag hoo-hah, not the programme, which was okay. For babies. Not six year olds. The record is cynical and, at heart, the polar opposite of what it implies.

    The inclusion promoted exists only to maximise the consumer base it aims to exploit. And exploit is exactly what it does, rather than educate or inform.

    Less than zero.

  6. 6
    punctum on 7 Apr 2014 #

    If you’re going to “be a bit pedantic,” it’s useful to get the spelling of “Teletubbies” correct. Perhaps this is at the root of why your argument is so dull, shallow, and indeed patronising. What do you know about how parents feel about, or what parents want for, or from, their children? “Celebrates complacency,” “nothing to aspire to” – who are you, Michael Gove?

    ALL pop music exists primarily (but not only) “to maximise the consumer base it aims to exploit.” That’s society as we know and live in it. What do you suggest as an alternative – forcefeeding them The Communist Manifesto at six months?

    Christ, your post has depressed me.

  7. 7
    Rory on 7 Apr 2014 #

    If I’d become a father at the same age that my own did, this could have been my toddler children’s theme song. But I didn’t, and mine were born into the In the Night Garden era too. The Night Garden is a less manic version of the Teletubbies world, with a theme tune that’s much gentler (and kinder on parents’ ears), but I can’t help thinking that the Teletubbies capture the entire range of toddler emotions and fascinations better. That doesn’t mean I have to like this expression of them, though. Kudos to the architects of a landmark of children’s television, and I fully recognise that this single wasn’t made for me, but if I never hear it again I would consider that a gain. 2.

  8. 8
    wichitalineman on 7 Apr 2014 #

    The birdsong and woodwinds hold a brief promise of 1968 baroque pop. But then comes the voice of Tony Blair (in his glottal stop “regular kind of guy” mode), over light, almost skanking piano and the twelfth-generation photocopy house drum pattern… it’s clearly aimed at people who had been clubbers a few years earlier but now, saddled with a toddler, have had all their political fire or cultural engagement squashed like Farleys rusks in a bowl of milk.

    (This is the first time I’ve ever heard this single. That bloke’s voice is really horrible).

  9. 9
    weej on 7 Apr 2014 #

    I found Teletubbies to be something of a phenomenon (loved or hated in seemingly equal measure) by everyone I knew, and my cousins (in their early to mid teens) got this CD and Teletubbies toys for Christmas that year.

    On the record itself, I can’t help but be annoyed by the way the seventies-style BBC-brass-band-and-session-musicians charm of the actual theme seems to have been surgically stripped away to leave nothing much of interest behind. After a few years of parenthood I’ve sat through enough cbeebies to be perhaps too aware of this sort of thing, so I don’t know if anyone else will even notice it’s not the same.

  10. 10
    Middlerabbit on 7 Apr 2014 #

    #6

    6

    I’m sorry to hear that I depressed you by offering an alternative perspective to your own. Perhaps Teletubbies didn’t prepare you for that sort of thing. Post club or not.

    Sorry to have misspelled it, my mistake. Where’s your spirit of ’67 now, eh?

    Do I know what all parents want of their kids? No, I don’t. In the same sort of way that nobody knows that. Including the makers of Teletubbies, who don’t know either. I am a parent and I’ve worked with kids for over twenty years, if that means anything. I find that a lot of parents experience sadness when their kids say things they used to enjoy are ‘babyish’ though. Perhaps it’s more about the passing of time and their own inevitable ageing that is upsetting for them.

    How about you? Ask some parents if they’re looking forward to their kids losing their innocence and experiencing misery and suffering. I tend to find most parents who enjoy being parents enjoy their kids being kids and are in no hurry to make them grow up.

    Something to aspire to? Yeah! Singing in front of the mirror with a hairbrush. That’s aspirational. Copying their mums and dads. That’s aspirational.

    I appreciate that you don’t agree with me, but my experience is this: kids can’t wait to grow up and adults want the opposite.

    The thing about innocence is that, like your virginity, once it’s gone, it doesn’t come back.

    Pop music might be based on consumerism, but the best pop music is more than that. The best pop music makes me forget that. Teletubbies say eh-oh does nothing so much as ram that concept down my throat until it hurts.

    The communist manifesto? That was in the programme, mate. Share and share alike. Or did you not get that bit? Or did you mainly focus on the idea that everyone should toe a party line?

    I thought we were allowed different opinions, thanks for putting me straight. Eh-oh!

  11. 11
    MikeMCSG on 7 Apr 2014 #

    This is a personal watershed number one. We came back from honeymoon the Sunday this got to number one and called at my mum’s house to pick up the presents on the way. I put the chart rundown on specifically to see if this had got to number one – it was a silly newlywed’s joke between us – the very last time I would put that show on at (either past or present) home or be more than vaguely interested in a song’s chart position.
    As my wife followed Corrie, at least for the next few years ( I caught TOTP sporadically for its remaining lifetime ), and The Chart Show was soon to be axed my knowledge of the charts absolutely disintegrates from this point. Now I have some CDs where I don’t know which were the singles let alone how high they got ( not very I suspect ).

    So Popular for me here stops being a journey through the past and will largely be a voyage of discovery.

  12. 12
    Mark G on 7 Apr 2014 #

    #8, if you’re looking for variety, you have to look at “Teletubbies, the album” which has a first half of tunes like this one, then some instrumentals like Mike Oldfield doodling, then ends with what sounds like Tom Waits bidding good night..

    Yep, we had that 6 month old appreciator, about a year after this hit the top. We knew we would not escape…

  13. 13
    wichitalineman on 7 Apr 2014 #

    I appreciate Teletubbies wasn’t aimed at 6 year olds, but from AA Milne to Edward Ardizzone to Eric Carle to Michael Bond, the best childrens stories/books/TV appeal to parents as well as children alike. From friends of mine with kids of a certain age, I know In The Night Garden dd this too. Teletubbies and the nail-down-blackboard Tweenies seemed to gleefully piss on this tradition, and I can’t see an upside to this anymore than reading Richard Yates to a toddler.

  14. 14
    Mark G on 7 Apr 2014 #

    I have two kids, I liked when they were little/cute, but was not wanting them to forever stay that way, or at least for as long as they wanted to, no more.

  15. 15
    Kat but logged out innit on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Well, this 15-year-old Elastica fan bought it, for the same reason I went to see the Beavis & Butthead movie. Stupid things are funny. Funnier than sodding AS-level Maths, anyway.

  16. 16
    Middlerabbit on 7 Apr 2014 #

    13

    My eldest daughter used to watch Teletubbies – though they were repeats – but in her moments of nostalgia(!), she dismisses it as being something she never enjoyed (although she certainly did). She talks about Balamory, Bobbinogs and Mr. Benn, which I used to inflict on her mainly for my own benefit. Perhaps if Teletubbies began with a ‘b’, it would have been better. Like ‘Bagpuss’. Now there’s a programme that could have had one heck of a great soundtrack release.

  17. 17
    Middlerabbit on 7 Apr 2014 #

    14

    I’m not suggesting that parents want to keep their offspring in a state of permanent juvenility, merely that they feel sad when they reject things they used to like as babies.

    I’m sure I didn’t invent empty nest syndrome! I’m also sure I wasn’t the first person to hear their parent say, ‘you’ll always be my baby.’

    I’m not trying to be a troll, I’m only trying to say that kids can’t wait to grow up and parents often like to try to slow things down a bit. It’s the cause of lots of disagreements between parents and kids, wouldn’t you say?

  18. 18
    wichitalineman on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Re 16: Absolutely – woodwinds, autoharps, a gorgeous soundtrack. It almost came out on Trunk ten or so years ago, but (I think this is the case) Sandra Kerr and John Faulkner insisted on re-recording the songs as they didn’t think the muted master tape was up to 21st century standards. One man’s gauzy field recording ambience is another man’s embarrassment I suppose.

  19. 19
    mapman132 on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Five? I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed this strongly with Tom’s rating before. I’ve had a habit of comparing crap records to Robson and Jerome until now, but the fact is they were at least theoretically decent songs that happened to be sung by poor singers with cynical marketing behind them. I’ll gladly listen to R&J, “The Stonk”, or even the infamous “Grandma” single over ever, ever hearing this awful thing again. And I say that as someone who, while not a parent myself, has had plenty of exposure to children’s television and music through my nephew and godchildren. 1/10 only because the scale goes no lower.

    BTW, appears no one has mentioned the Simon Cowell connection yet. On that note, here’s a classic related moment from American Idol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3LHQRTFTj8

    Punchline around 2:30. The singer shown finished 10th that season, BTW.

  20. 20
    AMZ1981 on 7 Apr 2014 #

    I don’t think anybody’s mentioned yet that this had another specific market in mind; the Yuletide one. In 1998 it was still considered a genuine battle with the runners and riders – of which this was definitely one – bigged up in advance. However we see an interesting marketing fail here – had this been released Christmas week it would have been Christmas number one (its first week sales were higher than that of the next record along). Chart climbers were pretty much a thing of the past by 1997 – it seems strange that the BBC didn’t consider this when planning the records release, they must have been aware of the comparisons to Take That vs Mr Blobby five years previously.

  21. 21
    Lazarus on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Whatever happened to the sun baby I wonder? Likely to be taking his A Levels this year, or maybe on a gap year. It’s a weird claim to fame to have – and you’d think twice about putting it on your CV. As for the record, well there’s nothing wrong with making records for children – as Tom said on the ‘Two Little Boys’ entry – but it’s not something I’d ever want to hear again … 2

  22. 22
    weej on 7 Apr 2014 #

    #21 Well, for starters, the sun baby is a she – http://teletubbies.wikia.com/wiki/Baby_Sun

  23. 23
    anto on 7 Apr 2014 #

    More of a Tweenies man myself.

  24. 24
    Ed on 7 Apr 2014 #

    @16, @18 The Bagpuss soundtrack certainly was released. I bought the CD in the now-vanished Borders in Islington about a dozen years ago.

    It is every bit as good as you’d think: a masterpiece – perhaps the masterpiece – of British weird folk. It was gratifyingly popular with our kids, too.

    In fact, order in the next 10 minutes and you can get it by tomorrow: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bagpuss-Songs-Music-Original-Soundtrack/dp/B000025AJC/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1396892787&sr=1-1&keywords=bagpuss+soundtrack

  25. 25
    iconoclast on 7 Apr 2014 #

    The Teletubbies are the great might-have-beens of British popular music. Crossing all boundaries of race, gender, sexuality, and body shape, they appealed, like no others before or since, right across the board: at one end, toddlers barely able to walk; at the other, the very hippest students. They could have had it all, so why they decided, after only one single, to concentrate on their TV careers is one of popular music’s greatest intractable mysteries. Perhaps only two weeks at Number One just wasn’t good enough.

    In the meantime, we have a thrilling delight of a single to enjoy: a high-spirited romp with something for everyone, from irreverent renditions of nursery rhymes for the children to sly in-jokes for the students to spot. (Musicologists, too, will note that it expresses the same wide appeal in musical terms, changing keys from C, the pianist’s favourite, through D, to E, the guitarist’s favourite.) It’s the perfect way to introduce the ‘Tubbies (and, of course, their catchphrase), from the shy Po to the raucous Laa-Laa, and it’s performed with such glee, warmth, and generosity of spirit that, really, any further discussion is redundant. Oasis, Robson, Prodigy, Spices, Jerome, take note: *this* is how you do it. By any imaginable standards, this is a guaranteed cast-iron sure-fire dead-cert TEN.

  26. 26
    Chelovek na lune on 7 Apr 2014 #

    This is what happens when hippies have children. But, ah, how THEIR children will turn out to be dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist reactionaries, demanding the return, in this context, of traditional musical forms and structures.

    As it is, this is jolly good fun: uniting the Weltanschaaungen of “1967” and that of the infant. Empathetic, happy, big hug good fun. And much better than the Mr Blobby Record. 4 or 5.

  27. 27
    thefatgit on 7 Apr 2014 #

    In a world that probably only exists in my mind, The Outhere Brothers recorded “Boom boom boom/Teletubbies say eh oh/EH OH!!” Although I’m certain a mash-up exists somewhere.

    The “Tony Blair” voice I believe, was Eric Sykes.

    Also the habitat, the Teletubbies’ rural idyll must have informed Peter Jackson’s vision of Hobbiton, therefore TeletubbyLand is informed by Tolkien? On a very superficial level, the aesthetic is transferable, if not the culture, but you could imagine a Shire without Gandalf coming to visit Bilbo, cut off from the rest of Middle Earth, with hobbits going about their business untroubled by orcs, dwarves or elves, let alone men.

    Back in 1997, my fashion choices were distinctly “of their time”. I owned a yellow Ralph Lauren button-down collar shirt. Whenever I wore it, my nickname immediately became Laa-laa. I didn’t keep the shirt for long.

  28. 28
    wichitalineman on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Re 24: That’s the re-recorded soundtrack I was talking about – check the production and copyright dates. Granted it sounds pretty similar! The ‘original soundtrack’, in spite of what Amazon calls it, never came out.

  29. 29
    mapman132 on 7 Apr 2014 #

    #4 The relative lack of extreme novelty hits on the Hot 100 in an interesting thing I’ve often wondered about myself. This one could be explained by being a UK-based show (although one that also was shown in the US); however, a year later a US-based cartoon for adults would spawn a somewhat less annoying novelty number one in the UK that wouldn’t chart in the US either. The airplay component of the Hot 100 is a partial explanation, but you would still expect these singles to garner some sales, if they were in fact released in the US. The fact that many UK novelty sellers were apparently bought at supermarkets and other non-traditional locations may be another explanation, but other than that, who knows….

  30. 30
    thefatgit on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Also footage of Tubby Custard being produced in a Teletubbies episode was used in a fake story about processed chicken on the internet. We’re in corporate dada territory again.

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