Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-laa and Po – if those four names mean anything to you, then you’re probably more than familiar with the preschool superstars, the Teletubbies.
The original show aired on BBC2 from 1997 to 2001 becoming an instant hit, and eventually becoming a global phenomenon, scooping up awards from our own Baftas, to Emmys in America and elsewhere.
It was revived for a new generation in 2015, and continues to be a staple on CBeebies. With its brightly coloured landscape and instantly recognisable characters, it celebrated its 20th anniversary last year as a genuine cultural phenomenon.
It is perhaps therefore surprising to learn that there had never been a live show – until now. Teletubbies Live is currently undergoing its debut tour, which stops at The Kings in Southsea on June 27 and 28.
Naomi Slater plays the show’s sole human character, Sam, and she explained the idea behind it all to The Guide.
‘I play a friend of the Teletubbies, so I interact between the audience and the Teletubbies. It’s almost like the audience and I go on a journey together into Teletubby land and see what adventures they get up to along the way.
‘There are a lot of elements and features from the TV show, so it’s very much like the children are seeing what they’ve seen on television, but this time it’s live in front of them, so there’s the Noo-Noo, the Sun Baby, Tubby toast, all of those features that are very well known from the programme, so there’s a lot going on.
‘And we’ve got some brand new songs that have been written specially for the show, and a lot of interaction with the children and a lot to get them involved in.’
As Sam admits, she actually remembers the programme from first time around. ‘I grew up on the tail-end of their first run, but I’d seen the new series via my cousin’s children, so I’ve seen both series, and how it’s changed, but obviously a lot of it was the same as 20 years ago.
‘They’re quite iconic characters. Everyone’s heard of them because they have been around for 20 years, so it is quite special to be involved with it, I’m absolutely loving it.
‘It’s so sweet seeing the children’s reactions and for a lot of them it’s their first ever experience of being in a theatre or watching a show.’
And Sam’s looking forward to coming back here. Not only is she from relatively nearby Shoreham-by-Sea, she also starred in the New Theatre Royal’s 2106 Christmas show, Santa Claus: The Musical.
‘I’m kind of local, so I know that area quite well. It’s lovely to be coming down and performing there.’
The Kings Theatre, Southsea