Antiques Roadshow reveals staggering value of original Teletubbies sketches

Virgin Radio

18 Dec 2023, 10:31

Credit: BBC

Yet another delightful and stunning valuation on the Antiques Roadshow, as one guest was left in awe when antique expert Mark Hill unveiled the surprising value of her husband's original Teletubbies sketches.

The episode, part of the Toys and Childhood Special, showcased the early designs created by Jonathan Hills, a talented designer and illustrator whose legacy continues to captivate audiences.

Lucy, Jonathan's wife, brought a selection of the whimsical drawings to Belmont House, where Mark Hill couldn't contain his excitement.

As he laid eyes on the sketches, featuring the iconic quartet Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po in their infancy, Mark described them as 'four fabulous characters full of colour and life.'

He also noted that there was something unique to the pieces, stating: "We’re looking here at a selection of drawings of what look like the Teletubbies, but there’s a sort of slight difference in some of them."

Curious about the origin of these treasures, Mark inquired: "They’re original drawings – how on Earth did you come to get these?"

Lucy revealed that her late husband was commissioned to develop characters for a children's program aimed at unsupervised young viewers.

Jonathan Hills, who passed away at age 66 in 2020, left behind an extraordinary legacy, and these Teletubbies sketches were a testament to his creative genius.

Mark, acknowledging the impact of Jonathan's work, remarked: "Literally, hundreds of millions of children saw his work, and what we’re looking at here is the very start, the very genesis of the Teletubbies."

The early sketches presented a charming divergence from the Teletubbies as we know them, with some appearing more akin to mice and bears.

Lucy disclosed that the original concept was titled 'Teleteddies,' offering a glimpse into the creative evolution of the beloved characters.

Among the drawings was the iconic sun character, complete with a baby's face.

Mark playfully dubbed it 'creepy,' but Lucy attested to its popularity among children, who found a connection in seeing themselves in the character.

As the suspense built, the crucial question of value lingered. Mark contemplated the growing interest in nostalgic connections as the audience matured.

He mused: "At some point, you want what made you feel warm and happy and cozy as a child.

"They’re going to want to own these and display them. When it comes to value, we have to ask what they might pay. What would you pay for a Teletubbies original drawing?"

When the moment of truth arrived, Mark speculated on the potential worth of these cherished pieces.

"£500? I think so. £1,000? Highly possible," he teased.

"And for some of the very best that really capture that Teletubbies magic, I don’t really see £2,000 as being out of the question."

The bombshell came when Mark suggested that Lucy's collection of around 80 drawings could be collectively valued at a staggering £80,000. Lucy, visibly stunned, expressed that her late husband would be thrilled by the revelation.

"It’s great," she exclaimed, realising the extraordinary value embedded in these whimsical childhood treasures.

In the world of Antiques Roadshow, it seems Teletubbies sketches are not just priceless in nostalgia but also in pounds sterling.

Antiques Roadshow airs Sundays at 8pm on BBC One and iPlayer.