Teletubbies Tinky Winky actor Simon Shelton dies

23 January 2018, 13:53

The actor Simon Shelton, who played Tinky Winky in the popular Teletubbies TV show, has died aged 52.

His niece, Inbetweeners actress Emily Atack, posted a photo of her uncle on Instagram revealing he died suddenly on 17 January, four days after his 52nd birthday.

Shelton, also known as Simon Barnes, was best known for playing Tinky Winky, the purple handbag carrying Teletubby in the BBC children's programme.

A trained ballet dancer and father-of-three, he replaced Dave Thompson who was fired from the role of Tinky Winky in 1997 after a year.

Shelton played the loveable creature until the show ended in 2001.

From 1994 to 1995 he played Dark Night in the children's game show, Incredible Games.

Speaking in 2008, Shelton said he had no idea the Teletubbies would be such a success when he was cast.

"I didn't know it would be as big as it was, but I did know as soon as I started working on it that it had something special," he said.

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

Ms Atack's Instagram post said: "My wonderful uncle Simon Barnes has been taken from us all so suddenly.

"The kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet.

"Loved by all who knew him, and will be forever. X"