From all of us at Tellyspotting, we wish you and yours a safe and very happy Christmas today. As the sun rises on another Christmas, we thought we’d bring you news surrounding another fairly famous sunrise…
Over the hills and far away,
Teletubbies come to play ….
It was at that point in Teletubbies that the sun would rise in ‘Teletubbyland’ to start the day. A baby’s face appeared, giggling its way through the show open while TInky Winky, Laa-Laa, Dipsy and Po magically appeared from the Tubby-Drome to play and play. Given the popularity of Teletubbies, chances are the baby’s face was probably one of the most familiar faces in British television whose identity had never really been confirmed…until, now.
Featured in every one of the 365 episodes, 19-year old Jess Smith was just nine months old when she began her ‘acting’ career March 1997 as the laughing tot in the sun. Why come forward after all these years? Jess, a first-year dance education student,f chose a gathering at Canterbury Christ Church university when students were told to say something about themselves that no one else would guess. I’m guessing no one would have every come up with this one no matter how long they had to guess. “I used to hide it but after a lot of encouragement from my friends at university, I’ve gained the confidence to come out with it. I thought I may as well tell them as I’m going to be spending the next three years with them“, said Jess.
Back in 1996, her mother, Anji Smith, 44, took her to Edenbridge Hospital to be weighed and a health visitor, who had been asked by Ragdoll Productions to find smiley babies, put Jess’s name forward. Mrs Smith said it was never intended to be a big thing: “It was just something a bit different to do and we didn’t expect it to be as big as it was. They just sat her in front of a camera and she just laughed and smiled at her dad.” For the filming, Jess sat in a high-chair so as to appear as it she was overlooking the fields of Tellytubbyland.
Just so you don’t go away thinking that her telly debut netted her enough money to pay for university, Jess was paid just £250 for filming and given a box of toys to take home.