Even though they seem happy during the show, at many times they are following commands from the voice-over ("show Tinky Winky the bowl"). They also seem to obey the wind mill when it starts spinning, sometimes saying "uh-oh" as if they have forgot something, or as if they should obey immediately. Even the strange loudspeakers that come from the ground tell when the Teletubbies should wake up or sleep.

Are then the Teletubbies prisoners of some kind, forced to obey the wishes of the one that keeps them in the garden and house? Is the baby in the sun the one that locked them up, since he is watching them constantly and smiling when they obey?

  • 3
    FWIW, I've always wondered whether they were cyborgs.
    – Wikis
    May 2, 2012 at 16:02
  • 1
    @Wikis I read your questions, and it can also be related to this one. Where they always like that, or was the antenna/TV added for mind control? Some kind of orwellian telescreen.
    – Marco Mustapic
    May 2, 2012 at 16:08
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    @JoeWreschnig before posting I checked if there was another Tele Tubbies question just to see if mine was off-topic. I'm asking about the tv show because I watched it with my nephew this last weekend.
    – Marco Mustapic
    May 2, 2012 at 16:22
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    Teletubbies is a show for toddlers. I highly doubt that there is enough scope in the show's premise to account for anything so nefarious. It is more likely that the voice-over simply represents a parent figure. May 8, 2012 at 17:39
  • 2
    Is this a serious question? It's a simple toddler's show, nothing more to it.
    – paddotk
    May 12, 2012 at 2:39

1 Answer 1


No, they are based on toddlers. The teletubbie world is an abstraction of what the creators remembered life to be like when they were children. The narrator represents an adult carer figure, such as a parent, guardian, or nursury supervisor and the show deals with the interaction between toddler and adult agendas and perceptions.

Here is what co-creator Anne Wood has to say about them:

Children, especially little children, live in the same world as the rest of us but perceive it differently. So the most important thing any adult can do for a child is to listen to them and try to understand them. Children love to be listened to - so when Andrew Davenport and I created Teletubbies together, we spent a lot of time observing and listening to children. We tried to find our own way back to feeling how we had felt as children and also shared what we had learned about their different perceptions. Along the way, we realized that the difference between an adult agenda and a child's agenda can often be very funny, so we had a lot of fun - and placed the notion of fun at the heart of the program.

You can read more on the PBS website...

With this in mind, we can see that the restricted world in which they live represents the restricted world of the child, with the the narrator, the wake up call and the windmill signifying bedtime representing the influence of the adult agenda.

This closeness to a representation of how a toddler sees the world apparently explains why they relate to the show so easily.

  • 4
    +1 You just gave a very good and serious answer to a very good but (IMHO) not-so-serious question. So children are somehow like prisoners, regarding their lack of responsilibity and freedom, but with just enough freedom and comfortability to enjoy the complete lack of individual responsiblity.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jun 5, 2012 at 7:51
  • @ChristianRau In the words of Malaclypse the Younger "Sometimes I take humor seriously. Sometimes I take seriousness humorously. Either way it is irrelevant." ;-)
    – ToniWidmo
    Jun 5, 2012 at 18:35
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    @ChristianRau Further I think its less that we treat children as prisoners so much as we treat prisoners like children (in so much as we take away the rights and responsibilities they'd normally be entrusted as adults).
    – ToniWidmo
    Jun 6, 2012 at 9:19

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