Friday, December 4, 2020
Friday, December 4, 2020

Tinky Winky from Teletubbies dies at 52

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Simon Shelton Barnes – best known for playing Tinky Winky in the BBC children’s TV show Teletubbies – has died.

The father-of-three from Ampthill, Bedfordshire, died just four days after his 52nd birthday.

Brother-in-law of Poldark actor Robert Daws and uncle of Inbetweeners actor Emily Atack, Barnes found fame after replacing original Tinky Winky actor Dave Thompson on the show.

A trained ballet dancer and choreographer, the actor was reluctant to portray the character at first, but later called the Teletubbies “a bit like the Beatles or Take That of television.”

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“I thought it was a bit of a risky move but it certainly paid off,” Barnes said at the time, adding how he received fan mail from children and parents.

Barnes’s son Henry posted a tribute on Facebook, writing: “I lost my lovely dad on Wednesday, he was the kindest and most gentle man I knew and I love him more than anything!

“I always used to be embarrassed as a child that he was a dancer and an actor but now I couldn’t be more proud! He is in a better place now and I know he wouldn’t want me to be sad, so I’m going to live my life the way he would want me to.”

The funeral will take place on the 7 February at the Bedford Crematorium. Family members have asked those attending to “wear bright colours” to remember Barnes.

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