ME: But, they gave you a PURSE--
DAVE THOMPSON: The Teletubbies were planned to have many of the characteristics of very young children, so they all had a 'favourite thing'. Lalaa had the ball (which was in fact a balloon), Dipsy had the hat, Po had the scooter, and Tinky Winky had the bag (you say purse, we say handbag).
ME: Po's going to kill himself on that scooter, drives like a madman.
DAVE THOMPSON: The bag wasn't supposed to make Tinky Winky effeminate, I think they wanted to go against gender sterotyping by giving a male a hand bag, and a female a scooter.
As far as I know it was an accident that Tinky Winky had a triangular arial (gay symbol, apparently), purple colour (another gay symbol), and the hand bag (feminine attribute).
ME: For the record, I didn't know ANY of those things, until just now, when you told me.
DAVE THOMPSON: When it was first shown, it became very popular with ravers who would watch the early morning broadcast whilst coming down from hallucinogenic drugs. This was also supposed to be an accident, but the woman who masterminded the Teletubbies became one of the richest women in Britain, and is very clever. Maybe she knew they would become a gay and drug culture phenomenon, although the official line is that they are intended for very young children, and nothing more.
ME: This brings me to my most important question -- Where was it shot? I'd like to vacation there.
DAVE THOMPSON: The company who made the Teletubbies also made Tots TV, which was filmed in a field on a farm just outside Stratford-On-Avon (where Shakespeare was born). The Teletubbies was made in the field next door. With the exception of a few generic blue screen shots (jumping down the hole in the top of the hill at the end of each programme, which was filmed at the BBC studios in London), the show was filmed on location in the field. External shots on and around the hill, internals inside it.
ME: That grass -- real or STUDIO grass?
DAVE THOMPSON: Only the hill was covered in astro-turf. The rest of it is real grass.
ME: Son-of-gun, it all looked real to me.
ME AGAIN: Back to the costume. What did you wear under there?
DAVE THOMPSON: The others wore lycra undergarments - I think it was stuff designed for pilots to wear beneath their flight suits. I'm a cotton man myself, so I wore long-sleeved white cotton T shirts, and white martial arts (judo/karate/aikido) trousers beneath the Tinky Winky suit.
ME: I'm a cotton man, myself. Never understood lycra people.
ME: Between takes, what was it like? I heard there was alot of incest, that never made it on camera.
DAVE THOMPSON: It was often glorious sunny weather, and we relaxed reading books or chatting to members of the crew who weren't directly involved in filming. There was a euphoric atmosphere on the set during the first few months. There are always prolonged periods of waiting around during filming, whilst camera angles and lights are changed, that sort of thing. I was reading a novel a day, at one point. It was such a fantastic job - being paid to live in the countryside, behave like a 3 year old, and lie around reading novels. Nice work if you can get it!
ME: Behaving like a 3 year old -- you should be ashamed.
DAVE THOMPSON: As we were in the countryside, most of us were staying in a country house hotel in a tiny village. We had great fun eating meals in the hotel restaurant or in local pubs, and socialising.
ME: Lots of DEBAUCHERY, so I hear.
DAVE THOMPSON: We left that sort of thing to the rabbits.
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