Teletubbies were not gay, says Laa-Laa
A former Teletubby has broken her silence to insist: Laa-Laa, Tinky Winky, Dipsy and Po weren’t gay.
(L-R) Teletubbies Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po Photo: AP
8:21AM BST 30 May 2012
Nikky Smedley, who played yellow-suited Laa-Laa, spoke out to rubbish claims smash hit children’s show Teletubbies was laced wih gay innuendo.
She said: “I think it’s embarrassing for the people who said it.
“What kind of person can take the obvious innocence and turn it into something else? We were hardly sexual beings.”
Nikky, now working as a professional storyteller, last donned the famous furry outfit in 2007. During her ten years as Laa-Laa, the BBC show battled rumours of gay undertones.
In 1999, American cleric Jerry Falwell claimed Tinky Winky was a homosexual role model for children, based on the fact he wore purple and had a triangular antenna. Both are symbols in the gay pride movement.
Nikky, from Solihull but now living in Shipston on Stour, has rubbished the rumour-mill.
She’s proud of her part in the BBC blockbuster, but doesn’t miss it. “I don’t pine for pink custard, if that’s what you mean,” said the 49-year-old.
“When the show was explained to me, I thought it was a work of genius.
“I thought it will be massive. It came from a place of love and engagement for young children.
“It is fantastic that somewhere in the world a child will be looking at Laa-Laa and laughing.”
She still keeps in touch with the rest of the Tubbies, particularly Dipsy, aka Birmingham comedian John Simmit.
“I’m very proud of what I’ve done, but I don’t like to be distant from children – you can’t hear them laugh from a TV.”
That’s the motivation for Nikky to become ‘The Storyteller’, delivering her own tales to children and also educating adults over the art.
She’s just returned from a stint at Stratford Literary Festival and staged a workshop at Solihull College. Early Years students were shown new ways of engaging with youngsters.
Nikky added: “There’s quite a lot of anxiety about it (storytelling). Students and parents feel nervous abouy telling stories to children, and they shouldn’t. There isn’t a wrong way.
“I believe passionately in the power and importance of storytelling for young people and my aim is for children to have an experience that will inspire and refresh their enthusiasm for our storytelling heritage.”