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Tinky Winky (played by Dave Thompson, Mark Heenehan, and Simon Shelton) is the first Teletubby. He is the largest of the Teletubbies, is covered in bright purple terrycloth, and has a triangular antenna on his head. He is notable for the red luggage (described by the show as a "magic bag", but often described by other media as a handbag) he always carries. His character has caused controversy due to allegations that his character's behavior, bag and body colour have homosexual qualities (see below).
Dipsy (played by John Simmit) is the second Teletubby. He is lime green and is named "Dipsy" because his antenna resembles a dipstick. He likes his black and white furry top hat, which he once lost. Laa-Laa found it, but instead of simply returning Dipsy's hat to the stricken Dipsy, she ran around it for about ten minutes shouting "Dipsy Hat! Dipsy Hat!". He is the most stubborn of the Teletubbies, and will sometimes refuse to go along with the other Teletubbies' group opinion. His face is also notably darker than the rest of the Teletubbies, and the creators have stated that he is Black.
Laa-Laa (played by Nikky Smedley) is the third Teletubby. She is sunflower yellow, and has a curly antenna. She likes to sing and dance, and is often seen to look out for the other Teletubbies. Her favourite thing is a bouncy, orange ball, which is almost as big as she is.
Po (played by Pui Fan Lee, Pui Fan Lee) is the fourth and last Teletubby. She is the smallest and youngest of the Teletubbies, is rosy red, and has an antenna shaped like a stick used for blowing soap bubbles. Her favourite object is her scooter, which she calls "scoota" (she also calls it "coota", or just "cooter"). Po can sometimes be mischievous and naughty, as when she disobeys the commands of the "Voice Trumpets". She has been stated by the show's creators to be Cantonese, and as such, she is bilingual, speaking both English and Cantonese. Although many are unsure of Po's gender, or consider her to be male (possibly because of her scarlet colour and tomboyish antics), she is clearly referred to as female in several episodes, such as "Dad's Portrait" (Episode 216, first broadcast 1998) and "Numbers: 2" (Episode 30). Many refer to her as "he" even though it is "she" (the same happens with Laa-Laa).
Noo-Noo (played by Dean Mark Dean) seems to be both the Teletubbies' guardian and housekeeper, due to its resemblance to a vacuum cleaner, which is its principal purpose in the house. Noo-Noo hardly ventures outside, instead remaining indoors and constantly cleaning with its sucker-like nose. It does not speak like the other characters, instead communicating through a series of slurping and sucking noises. At times, Noo-Noo gets annoyed with the Teletubbies' antics and can vacuum their food or toys. This usually prompts the Teletubbies to scold Noo-Noo through a cry of "Naughty Noo-Noo!". Usually after this, Noo-Noo flees and the Teletubbies pursue it comically around the house until they grow tired, are distracted by something, or forgive Noo-Noo. This sequence ends with them hugging it, or with it shooting out their absorbed objects.
The Bear with Brown Fuzzy Hair(played by Penelope Keith) is a bear who is one of the characters in the infamous The Lion And Bear sketch, where she plays hide and seek. She is a mechanical thing on a red skateboard looking thing with green eyes, big ears, big eyebrows, a big round nose and a mechanical mouth with a red tongue inside, as well as brown fur, long arms and legs and white claws. Her personality is silly, immature and also eerie. She has a sense of humour by doing a 'joke' where she sticks her tongue out with her eyes rolling in circles, before popping out from behind a tree going 'blub a lub a lub'. She then hides from a Lion from behind a tree. The Lion then tries to find her by searching Teletubbyland. Then, eventually, he finds her and chases her through Teletubbyland for no reason whatsoever, although she does say 'catch me!' Then she disappears, along with the Lion. She speaks in a posh Queen's English accent, which indicates she is from London(it is possible as her actor is from Sutton, in South London.) The reason she is scary is because of her uncanny features, like plastic eyes, a mechanical mouth, a red paper tongue, a weird blub a lub a lub sound, creepy arm movements, her creepy, sinister voice at the start of the sketch and the fact she travels on a skateboard thing. She makes no mechanical sounds whatsoever and it is unknown how she can pop up from holes so quickly, where she comes from, and how she can change direction, in the original sketch. In the edited sketch, she is more humorous and silly and she makes mechanical sounds, and doesn't pop out of nowhere. She is shown to be a protagonist(the main good character) as she hides and runs away from the Lion, though most children(and occasionally young people) are more scared of her than the Lion.
The Scary Lion with Big Scary Teeth(played by Eric Sykes) is a lion who is one of the characters in the Lion and Bear sketch, where he plays hide and seek. He is a mechanical creature on a blue skateboard thing with grey eyes, small ears, a brown mane, a brown nose, whiskers, a mechanical mouth, yellow fur(even though he has no fur), a tail with brown fur on the hand, small paws and no eyebrows. His tail moves in a creepy manner and in the original sketch he is seen wagging it. His personality is frightening, intimidating and mean, as he talks creepily and makes the Teletubbies scream. He can roar fiercely, making trees bend and shake and clouds move, which is stuff that in real life, only earthquakes can do. He also has a fierce, though sometimes pathethic, roar. He is trying to find the Bear, who's hiding, in Teletubbyland. And he also, like the Bear, pops out of nowhere. He says he's looking for the Bear and he knows she's hiding but he doesn't know where. He then says 'Where's the Bear?' three times getting more and more angry each time until the Bear pops up and repeats her joke. He then chases her around Teletubbyland for no reason until he and the Bear both disappear. The reason he is scary is because of his fierce, violent roar, the way he talks, his creepy eyes and mouth, the fact he pops out of nowhere and the way his tail moves without making mechanical sound. It is unknown how he can get from one hole to another so quickly. He speaks in a Northern English accent, which indicates he is from the North, most likely Yorkshire or Lancashire.(His actor is from Oldham, near Manchester.) In the edited sketch he is more jolly and humorous as he makes mechanical sounds, doesn't pop out of nowhere and has a funny 'Meow!', even though lions can't meow in real life. In the original sketch he is shown to be an antagonist(the bad character) as he finds the Bear and chases her viciously. In the edited sketch, he is now a deuteragonist(the second main good character) and he doesn't get angry, just annoyed when the Bear makes fun of him. Children and young people are more afraid of the Bear than him.
The show also features the voices Tim Whitnall the Narrator and the Voice Tumpets from the Intro and Tubby Bye Bye and the Dog. Rolf Saxton. Rudolph Walker who also played the Little Lamb and Sandra Dickinson, who also played the Female Voice Trumpets, and Toyah Willcox, who says "Over the Hills and Far Away, Teletubbies come to play" and who also played Little Bo Peep, and occasionally Toni Barry, who also played the Talking Flowers, Alex Pascall who also played the Sheep and Robin Stevens who also played the Puppet Man, all of whom provide narration. The only physical cast members are Tamzin Griffin, who plays the manic "Funny Lady", and Jessica Smith whose face as a seven month old baby depicts the Baby Sun. Her giggle was included in the single Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!. Although she was not credited, this makes her technically the youngest person ever to have their vocal appear in a number one song.
Narrator (played by Wallace Allen) tells a story of the Teletubbies.
The antenna shapes of each Teletubbie provides mnemonic clues as to the character's name:
- Triangle: "Tinky Winky"
- Straight: "Dipsy"
- Swirl: "Laa-Laa"
- Round: "Po"