It’s disaster for the long-anticipated Teletubbies screen epic following the awarding of an 18 certificate effectively meaning only those aged 15 to 17 are likely to see it.
The movie is loosely based on the TV show aimed at pre-school children but as expected, the transition from kids’ TV show to the big screen has led to a reorientation for an older market.
But the 18 certificate came as a surprise to Director Louis Blanket.
“I would say the essence is a little darker. But there’s nothing overtly sexual or violent in the screenplay. Sure, we took the Tinky Winky handbag thing in a direction not fully explored in the TV series but it was always heavily hinted at. I think we lost the chance of a PG from the moment where Alan Rickman as the Nuu-Nuu domestic cleaning robot becomes self-aware and starts shooting, taking over control of the tubbytronic superdome so the four colourful heros lock themselves into the safe room. From there it’s a psychological battle, with tubby custard running low, as to who will do what to survive. It’s pretty nasty, and there’s a lot of stuffing flying about, but if I tell you more you’ll need a spoiler alert.”
The production got off to a rocky start when it was discovered that the ‘baby face in the sun’ still had an ongoing contract to be the face in the sun of anything teletubby. “The guy’s real lucky,” adds Blanket, “because he’s the only guy from the original crew to get paid whenever teletubbies airs, but he’s got this rock solid contract which means he also gets to be the face in the sun no matter what – no matter that he’s 16 years of age and looks frankly ridiculous - but we worked around it. I think the hood in fact helps.”
With toy shops refusing to stock the action figures and limited edition Dipsy Red Nerf gun and bullets before Christmas, the movie could flounder financially. Plans for a McDonalds McPo burger are also ‘on hold on grounds of taste’, despite this not having been an obstacle for McDonalds at any time in the past.
“People will say we’ve gone from ‘Eh Oh’ to Uh-oh but the film is all the better for it,” opines Blanket. And it maintains a sense of integrity throughout. Something you won't find when you watch 'In the Night Garden - Curse of the Tombliboos' next year.