~~March 12, 2016~~
Tinky-Winky is the first Teletubby
He is in Teletubbyland with the other Teletubbies
Tinky Winky (played by Dave Thompson, Mark Heenehan, and Simon Shelton) is the first Teletubby. He is the largest and oldest of the Teletubbies, is covered in bright purple terrycloth, has a tomgirlish type 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. He often hangs out with Po. His character has caused controversy due to allegations that his character’s behavior, bag and body color have homosexual qualities.
Tinky Winky is not just the biggest Teletubby, but also very gentle. His favorite thing is his red bag. Tinky Winky loves walking, marching, dancing and falling over.
He has a special song which he loves to sing to himself, “Pinkle winkle, Tinky Winky, pinkle winkle, Tinky Winky.” Tinky Winky loves big hugs.
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Tinky Winky started a still hinted-at controversy in 1999 due to his carrying a bag that looks much like a woman’s handbag (although he was first “outed” by the academic and cultural critic Andy Medhurst in a letter of July 1997 to The Face).
He aroused the interest of Jerry Falwell in 1999 when Falwell alleged that the character was a “gay role model”. Falwell issued an attack in his National Liberty Journal, citing a Washington Post”In/Out” column which stated that lesbian comedian Ellen DeGeneres was “out” as the chief national gay representative, while trendy Tinky Winky was “in”. He warned parents that Tinky Winky could be a hidden homosexual symbol, because “he is purple, the gay pride color, and his antenna is shaped like a triangle: the gay pride symbol”.
The BBC, who co-produced the program, made an official response,
“Tinky Winky is simply a sweet, technological baby with a magic bag.”
Ken Viselman of Itsy-Bitsy Entertainment, who distributed the show in the USA, commented,
“He’s not gay. He’s not straight. He’s just a character in a children’s series.”
…. and that is why he’s my favorite Teletubby!
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