Saturday, 17 November, 2018


Tributes Paid To 'Teletubbies' Star Simon Shelton, Who Died Aged 52

Simon Shelton Barnes had trained as a dancer and choreographer before taking on the role Simon Shelton Barnes had trained as a dancer and choreographer before taking on the role
Hannah Rogers | 23 January, 2018, 21:13

Simon Shelton Barnes, a British actor best known for his role as purple Teletubby Tinky Winky, has died at the age of 52.

Actor Simon Shelton, also known as Simon Barnes, died January 17, his son Henry told BBC.

Barnes' niece, "Inbetweeners" actress Emily Atack, shared the news of her uncle's passing on Instagram.

'The kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet. "Loved by all who knew him, and will be forever", she wrote.

The father-of-three was also a trained ballet dancer and choreographer, the Independent reported, adding that he had been reluctant initially to play the Teletubbies character.

Barnes portrayed the character for 14 episodes between 1998-2001 after Thompson was sacked in 1997.

Shelton played Tinky Winky from 1998 to 2001, taking over for original performer Dave Thompson.

Co-star John Simmit, who appeared alongside him as green Tellytubby Dipsy, posted a picture of the actors at the height of their fame.

About one billion children in more than 120 countries watched the Teletubbies in 45 languages.

Mr Barnes said the sexuality of the character was a question he was frequently asked because of Tinky Winky's penchant for hand bags.

Another tribute came from the photographer Mike McGear, who is the brother of Paul McCartney and second cousin to Barnes' ex-wife, Emma.

Teletubbies characters Dispy, Laa Laa, Po and Tinky Winky.

"I found it amusing and quite staggering, because I just thought, 'Is this for real?'" he said.

He then compared starring in the kid's programme to being a rockstar: "We used to receive a lot of fan mail from kids and parents".

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