Review of ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’ by Nikky Smedley

A marvellous memoir from Laa-Laa the Teletubby, aka Nikky Smedley, who is a dancer, choreographer, producer and teacher. One of the more unusual memoirs I’ve read, it’s a funny, insightful book which I very much enjoyed.

I was a little too old for the Teletubbies programme when it was first broadcast in 1997 but I remember seeing it at my childminder’s house. I’ve been exposed to it since then as my kids like watching it. In fact, while I was finishing this book, they made their Teletubby toys fight each other (Po was a policeman and Tinky Winky was the bad guy). What’s interesting about the TV programme is how popular and long-lived it is – this year is the 25th anniversary – which proves that Anne Wood and Andrew Davenport (the creators) were on to a winner, although as Nikky Smedley recounts, what they were doing was quite new and no one could predict how successful it would be.

The memoir focuses on what it was like to be in the Laa-Laa suit, channel the character and work with everyone involved in the programme. It’s packed full of production secrets and amusing anecdotes. I was super impressed with how considered every detail was and that, far from the dumbing down of children’s TV that the media had latched on to, Teletubbies was designed to support children’s early development in several ways. After finishing work on the show, Nikky was involved with the next Ragdoll productions Boobah (no, I haven’t heard of it either) and the phenomenally successful In the Night Garden, before doing various Teletubbies events and being a consultant on the rebooted Darrall Macqueen series.

In summary, a recommended read, unless you’ve never heard of the Teletubbies (unlikely) or you have a phobia of them (apparently some people do).

Thank you to the publisher Sandstone Press for the advance copy via NetGalley. The book will be published on 11th August.

I’ve edited this post to spell Nikky’s name correctly – d’oh!

2 thoughts on “Review of ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’ by Nikky Smedley”

    1. That’s great! I saw it on Netgalley and thought it would be a fun unusual read.

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