'Teletubbies' Tinky Winky Actor Simon Shelton Barnes Dies, Aged 52

Simon Shelton Barnes, the actor who played Tinky Winky in classic children’s show ‘Teletubbies’, has died at the age of 52.

The father-of-three from Bedfordshire died on 17 January, according to the BBC.

<strong>Simon played Tinky Winky in 'Teletubbies'</strong> (Photo: Rex/Shutterstock)
Simon played Tinky Winky in 'Teletubbies' (Photo: Rex/Shutterstock)

Simon was also the brother-in-law of ‘Poldark’ actor Robert Daws and the uncle of ‘The Inbetweeners’ actress Emily Atack.

Emily posted a tribute to her uncle on Instagram, which read: “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.”

As reported by The Independent, Simon’s son Henry also 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.”

During the original series, which ran from 1997 to 2001, Simon wore the Tinky Winky suit, though he was not the first person to play the purple character.

Comedian Dave Thompson was let go from the role early into the show, amid claims bosses didn’t like how he was playing the character as gay.

<strong>'Teletubbies' originally aired from 1997 to 2001, but was revived in 2015</strong> (Photo: BBC)
'Teletubbies' originally aired from 1997 to 2001, but was revived in 2015 (Photo: BBC)

Simon previously admitted he was initially reluctant to take on the part, saying: “I started my career as a ballet dancer and had just started working as a choreographer. I thought it was a bit of a risky move but it certainly paid off.

“We used to receive a lot of fan mail from kids and parents. I suppose we were a bit like the Beatles or the Take That of children’s television.”

Simon’s funeral will take place on the 7 February at the Bedford Crematorium, and his family has asked attendees to “wear bright colours” in tribute.

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JANUARY

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FEBRUARY

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FEBRUARY

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MARCH

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MARCH

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MARCH

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MARCH

<strong>Jim Bowen</strong><br /><strong>TV presenter and comedian (b. 1937)</strong><br /><br />Best known for presenting the cult darts-based game show ‘<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullseye_(UK_game_show)" target="_blank">Bullseye</a>’, the comedian died in March, aged 80 having previously suffered difficulties with his health after suffering a stroke in 2016.
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MARCH

<strong>Katie Boyle</strong><br /><strong>Actress and Eurovision Song Contest presenter (b. 1926)</strong><br /><br />“The Italian-born actress, TV personality, agony aunt, game show panellist and dog lover, died peacefully at home,” her publicist said.
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MARCH

<strong>Sir Stephen Hawking</strong><br /><strong>Physicist, Cosmologist, Author (b. 1942)</strong><br /><br />The renowned British physicist, one of the world’s finest scientific minds, died at the age of 76,at his home in Cambridge. His work ranged from the origins of the universe itself, through the tantalising prospect of time travel to the mysteries of space’s all-consuming black holes.
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APRIL

<strong>Timmy Matley</strong><br /><strong>Singer with The Ovetones <i>(b. 1982)<br /><br /></i></strong>Timmy, who usually took lead vocals in The Overtones, joined the band in 2010. <strong><i><br /></i></strong>
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APRIL

<strong>Alex Beckett</strong><br /><strong>Actor <i>(b. 1982)</i></strong><br /><br />The actor, best known for his role as Barney Lumsden in the BBC sitcom 'W1A' died at the age of 36.
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APRIL

<strong>Dale Winton </strong><br /><strong>TV Star <i>(b. 1955)</i></strong><br /><br />The legendary presenter, best known for 'Supermarket Sweep' and 'In It To Win It', died at home. 
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APRIL

<strong>Avicii</strong><br /><strong>DJ <i>(b. 1989)</i></strong><br /><br />Avicii's death, at the age of 28, stunned the music world and stars including Nile Rodgers paid tribute.
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DJ (b. 1989)

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APRIL

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APRIL

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JUNE

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JUNE

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JUNE

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JUNE

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JUNE

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JULY

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AUGUST

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Comedian (b. 1944)

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AUGUST

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AUGUST

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Actor (b. 1975)

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SEPTEMBER

<strong>Rachael Bland<br /><i>Radio Presenter</i> <i>(b. 1978)</i><br /></strong><br />Rachael Bland was a Welsh journalist, and served as a presenter on BBC Radio 5 Live. She died after a two year battle with breast cancer, during which she had documented her experiences through a podcast called 'You, Me And The Big C'.
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Radio Presenter (b. 1978)

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SEPTEMBER

<strong>Burt Reynolds<br /><i>Actor</i> <i>(b. 1936)</i><br /></strong><br />Burt Reynolds was an Oscar-nominated actor, who starred in titles like 'Boogie Nights' and 'Deliverance'. He died after going into cardiac arrest.
Burt Reynolds
Actor (b. 1936)

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SEPTEMBER

<strong>Peter Benson <br /><i>Actor</i> <i>(b. 1943)</i><br /></strong><br />Peter Benson was an actor best known for his role as Bernie Scripps on the ITV series, 'Heartbeat'. He died following a relatively short illness.
Peter Benson 
Actor (b. 1943)

Peter Benson was an actor best known for his role as Bernie Scripps on the ITV series, 'Heartbeat'. He died following a relatively short illness.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.