Teletubbies: Happy Christmas Review
Stretching the Christmas theme slightly, this release sees two seasonal Teletubbies specials brought together on a single DVD. Teletubbies And The Snow (71m36s) opens with the giant baby faced sun gazing down on the green grass of Teletubbie valley while the four Teletubbies occupy themselves with their handbag, ball, hat and scooter. "Twinky Winky! Dipsy! Laa-Laa! Po!" Very soon the snow begins falling and the Teletubbies run inside, looking out through the windows of their spaceship as the snowflakes tumble down. The bunny rabbits still lollop about on the snow - although, I don't think it's real snow as snow this dry hasn't fallen on Britain since the last ice age - but the Teletubbies look concerned. What to do in the snow?
Well...dance is the first thing to do, then walk about hand-in-hand exploring the snowy hills, make snowballs, find the Teletubbie things now covered in snow and then - of course! - roll about in it. Such fun doesn't last forever and so the Teletubbies gave into one another's tummies to see how Christmas is celebrated around the world, in Finland, the UK and Spain. A Spanish Christmas seems to involve shouting at a log and hitting it to get it to reveal its presents but the Finnish Christmas is just lovely, a song performed by a class of four- and five-year-olds that's so very charming.
The second story is Happy Christmas From The Teletubbies (66m34s) in which a Christmas tree appears in the garden. Approaching the tree, the Teletubbies find four presents, one each for Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po. After that, it's back to the spaceship to have a good think about what this might mean before finding out about Christmas and in opening their own presents, finding that they have all the things they need to decorate their own home for Christmas. Until the Noo-Noo eats it all...naughty Noo-Noo!
This isn't the first time that I have written about the Teletubbies for this site. That honour goes to the disc released to celebrate the Teletubbies' tenth birthday celebration, in which, as well as pondering the mystery of how four aliens so taken with a handbag, hat, ball and scooter, managed to not only construct a spaceship but to fly across the galaxy. However, the bigger problem with the Teletubbies is that my children have never much liked them, which has never bothered me very much. In fact, I'd rather they didn't as I've never been entirely convinced by the Teletubbies. Even here, they're not really of the world they exist in, not like the Tweenies, for example, who comment and, in the language of three- and four-year-olds, try to make sense of the world. On the contrary, the Teletubbies do not, only that they footle about on the hills outside their spaceship. Any interaction with the real world they have is through the television sets on their tummies but it feels too little.
The problem with a set like this is that no child, barring the very young and almost completely immobile, has the patience for two episodes of the Teletubbies, each one over an hour long. Five minutes is the perfect length for an episode of the Teletubbies, just enough time to watch Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po do their thing, to look the sun and the bunny rabbits and to watch the children in their little story away from Teletubbie-land but it really doesn't need anything more than that. At over two hours, this will not only be a strain on the parents but, more than likely, on the children too. My attempt to get my children to watch this ended with all of them, even the youngest, wandering off bored during the second episode.
That's probably the ideal way to watch this DVD, a chapter at a time. Any more than that and it becomes predictable, which might well work for the very young but proves that even a three-year-old is a little too old for this. However, it is clear, given the success of the Teletubbies, that my own children are something of an exception and this is sure, given its advertising push in last couple of weeks, to be as big a success as anything else released by the Teletubbies in the last decade. Which is, if you didn't know, rather a lot of toys, games and videos/DVDs. And, no doubt, very much more in the coming weeks.
Unlike much on the CBeebies channel, Teletubbies is presented in 1.33:1, looking fine throughout. Given that so very little happens in a typical episode, the format isn't noticeably troubled by artifacts and sharpness is generally very good. What this DVD does very well is to capture the bright colours of the Teletubbies, with the characters being given the vivid purple, green, yellow and red to stand out against the backdrop of lush green fields and a spaceship. If, that is, the Teletubbies' home is actually a spaceship. Likewise, the DD2.0 audio tracks is very competently handled, not least that it sounds clean and without any obvious problems with background noise or audio effects. There's some stereo separation but not a great deal other than, being a notable exception, when the Teletubbies run about the field surrounding their home. Once again, the BBC are to be congratulated for included English subtitles on this release.
There are no extras on this DVD.