Forget his gritty and flawed roles on TV and film – from Logan in Any Human Heart to Lord Longford (Longford) and John Bayley (Iris) – Jim Broadbent’s next part will really test his acting mettle.
The Harry Potter and Moulin Rouge star is set to join the upcoming reboot of children’s classic The Teletubbies alongside TV presenter Fearne Cotton and actress Jane Horrocks, with the series set to relaunch after 14 years on the CBeebies channel later this year.
Still, anyone hoping to see Broadbent, Cotton or Horrocks pull on the purple onesie of Tinky Winky might be disappointed as they’re not actually playing any of the titular tummied TV characters. Cotton and Broadbent will be talking ‘Voice Trumpets’ (who make announcements on the show), while Horrocks will voice the new ‘Tubby Phone’ (presumably with the purpose of alerting the Teletubbies to their rights for Tubby PPI reclamation).
“Teletubbies is truly a British institution and it’s very exciting to be involved in bringing this global hit back to our TV screens,” Broadbent said. “I’m really looking forward to working with the Teletubbies and giving them big hugs.”
Cotton – who began her career presenting children’s programmes on GMTV, CITV and CBBC – added: “Teletubbies holds a special place in my heart so I’m honoured to be part of this well-loved TV show. As a mum, I am sure the new series will enthral a whole new generation of children across Britain and I will certainly be watching with my kids.”
We’re sure you’ll all be watching, though there’s one person who won’t be – Teletubbies creator Anne Wood, who told Radio Times that she couldn’t “bring herself to” after selling the rights to her characters in 2013. Wood originally created the Teletubbies in 1997, with Tinky Winky, Dipsie, Laa-Laa and Po going on to become a global phenomenon.
“I mean I have nothing against them, it might be brilliant,” Wood said. “They tell me they’ve got the best producer possible on it, so that’s a good sign. But how could I watch it? All my programmes are like my children. It’s like seeing a child remade in somebody else’s image. So good luck to them. They bought it and I can’t do anything about that.”