The Worst Children’s TV Show Is Returning As A Reboot

A new, animated version of Teletubbies is coming to Netflix.

By Michileen Martin | Published

Related:
The Best Kids Show Is Getting A CGI Reboot

There are more than a few examples of popular kids TV shows that attracted unexpected controversy, but from the late nineties to the early ’00s, there was perhaps no better example than the BBC’s Teletubbies. In its time the original series was criticized as allegedly pushing forward a pro-LGBTQ agenda, and would become embraced by others as a psychedelic showcase. Now Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po are on their way back in a slightly new medium. A new animated Teletubbies series is coming to Netflix.

Deadline reported on the Teletubbies reboot on Wednesday, saying the new animated show will arrive as one of a number of new programs on the way as part of the Netflix’s Fall slate of shows targeted at preschoolers. The series will be narrated by Tituss Burgess of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fame. It’s created and written by Andrew Davenport, who co-created the first series for the BBC. The series will premiere on the streamer on Monday, November 14.

teletubbies
The Teletubbies in the 2015-2018 series

The original run of Teletubbies lasted from 1997 to 2001 and the series was first rebooted in 2015. That run ended in 2018, though it looks like much of the talent from the first reboot is returning for the Netflix animated series. Deadline lists the Teletubby performers as Rachelle Beinart, Rebecca Hyland, Nick Chee Ping Kellington, and Jeremiah Krage. Beinart played Po in the 2015 reboot, Hyland played Laa Laa, Kellington played Dipsy, and Krage was the infamous Tinky Winky.

It was Tinky Winky of the original series who sparked so much outrage–which mostly wound up as fodder for late night talk show monologues. As reported by the New York Times, in 1999 the late televangelist Jerry Falwell accused Teletubbies of using Tinky Winky as a secret pro-homosexual hero. The notion that the character was gay apparently came from an episode in which he carries a bag that looked to some like a woman’s purse. While some took Falwell’s attacks seriously, the controversy died down stateside fairly quickly; replaced mostly by humor targeted at Falwell and those with similar accusations. The issue came up again in Poland some years later, and it would not be particularly surprising–given the current political climate in the United States–if news of the Teletubbies reboot inspired a new round of homophobic outrage today.

Along with the Teletubbies reboot, Netflix will be debuting two new series targeted at young children in the Fall. Based on Savannah Guthrie and Allison Oppenheim’s book series Princesses Wear Pants, Netflix will premiere the new animated series Princess Power. They will be joined by Spirit Rangers–another animated show whose heroes are the young Native American siblings Kodiak, Summer and Eddy Skycedar. Along with the new programs, Netflix will stream new seasons of CoComelon, Gabby’s Dollhouse and Waffles + Mochi.

While the new and returning preschool series are far from a silver bullet able to take out Netflix’s recent challenges all on their own, it’s good news considering it beefs up an area of the streamer’s arsenal that one of its biggest competitors can no longer compete with. HBO Max recently pulled almost all of its kids programming down, including the beloved Sesame Street. While Teletubbies may be no Sesame Street, Netflix is certainly looking a lot more marketable to families with young children than the mess Warner Bros. Discovery is left with.