BBC takes Teletubbies to China

HONG KONG - The BBC's Teletubbies are to become the first Western television show to broadcast regularly during primetime in China.

The show is scheduled to be shown on CCTV, the Chinese state television service that reaches an audience of around 600m. It will begin in March.

It is unclear what kind of deal the BBC has signed with CCTV and how much it will earn.

The Financial Times reports that the show will be known as Tianxian Baobao, which translates as "antenna babies", referring to the oddly-shaped aerials on the head of Tinky Winky, Po, Laa-Laa and Dipsy.

Surprisingly, for a programme with little dialogue, translating the show in Mandarin has proved problematic. Yao Zuozhou, a spokeswoman for CCTV, told the FT: "We did as much as we could to keep it faithful to the English original."

However, one of the characters, Po, can speak Cantonese as well as English, sometimes singing and counting in Cantonese.

Teletubbies was first shown by the BBC in March 1997.

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