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Actor who played Tinky Winky on Teletubbies freezes to death on Liverpool street

Simon Shelton Barnes, who played Tinky Winky on Teletubbies for three years has died of hypothermia.

tv Updated: Jan 25, 2018 19:50 IST
Associated Press
Tinky Winky,Teletubbies,Simon Shelton Barnes
Simon Shelton Barnes played Tinky Winky for three years.

British actor Simon Shelton Barnes, who played Tinky Winky in the children’s television series Teletubbies, has died. He was 52.

The Liverpool Coroner’s Office said Thursday it is investigating the death of Barnes, whose body was found in the northwestern English city on Jan. 17. Police say the death is not suspicious, and have referred it to the coroner to determine the cause.

According to a report in Daily Mail, Barnes died of hypothermia after collapsing in Liverpool.

Barnes played one of four gentle, brightly coloured characters in the toddler-centric show between 1998 and 2001. Teletubbies became such a global hit that Barnes once called it The Beatles of children’s television.

It became the surprising subject of controversy in 1999 when a newspaper published by evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell said Tinky Winky’s purple colour, triangle antenna and handbag indicated the character was gay.

The BBC, which broadcast the show, said at the time that “as far as we are concerned Tinky Winky is simply a sweet, technological baby with a magic bag.”

Teletubbies producer Ragdoll Productions tweeted that Barnes was “a joy to work with, which was clear from the fun and energy that came through the screen, in all of his performances as Tinky Winky.”

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First Published: Jan 25, 2018 19:50 IST