Former Teletubby: Tinky Winky was not gay

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An actress who portrayed the Teletubby Laa-Laa has said the children’s programme did not contain gay undertones.

The show came in for long-running controversy over suggestions it was promoting homosexuality to children. through the purple character of Tinky Winky.

Nikky Smedley, who portrayed Laa-Laa in the show from 1997, said: “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.”

But of questions over Tinky Winky’s sexuality, she told the Birmingham Mail: “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.”

The late US preacher Jerry Falwell prompted a worldwide debate over the sexuality of Tinky Winky in 1999.

He claimed that Tinky Winky must be gay because he was purple and had a triangle on his head; symbols of gay pride. A bag the character carried also prompted questions, perceived as it was to be a women’s accessory. The BBC said: “Tinky Winky is simply a sweet, technological baby with a magic bag.”

In 2007, Polish politician Eva Sowinska said she would ask psychologists to investigate whether the purse-carrying character was gay and promoted homosexuality to children. Her office later dropped the issue.