Teletubbies’ Vacuum: this is Noo Noo!

teletubbies vacuum cleaner noonoo
This is Noo Noo, the Teletubby vacuum cleaner! © Video Still / YouTube
A few interesting facts about the Teletubbies' vacuum cleaner:

– The name of the Teletubbies vacuum cleaner is Noo Noo
– Noo Noo used to be blue, but it is orange nowadays
– The vacuum cleaner is seen outside in only one episode
– Initially, the plan was for Noo Noo to be a space robot
– The Teletubbies vacuum cleaner first appeared in 1997

Although the Teletubbies became popular long after my childhood, the children's program still caught my attention. In some episodes, a vacuum cleaner takes center stage. I have decided to conduct thorough research on this mischievous vacuum cleaner. Here are the most interesting facts about the Teletubbies vacuum cleaner for you.

The Teletubbies vacuum cleaner is called ‘Noo Noo.'

Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Po, and Tinky Winky are the names that probably come to mind when talking about the Teletubbies. But, what about the vacuum cleaner? It goes by the name Noo Noo. The name is pronounced with short pauses, so Noo…Noo!

In the audio clip below, the pronunciation of the name is clearly audible.

In old Teletubbies episodes, the vacuum cleaner was blue

When you watch older episodes of Teletubbies, you will notice that the vacuum cleaner is blue instead of orange, the color it is now. And no, it's not like the orange Big Bird in the United States and the blue Pino in the Netherlands. While those differences are due to the requirement that the series should not look too similar, here it has a technical cause.

The producers of the children's series nowadays use a technique called blue-screen (source), among other things, to filter out backgrounds. And yes, a blue vacuum cleaner against a blue screen would obviously make that impossible.

Noo Noo ‘almost' never comes outside

Just like a real vacuum cleaner, Noo Noo never goes outside. Well, almost never, because there is one episode in which Noo Noo is exposed to the outdoors. In the episode ‘Fixing Things,' the vacuum cleaner can be seen from 9:46 onwards (watch here) in the familiar hilly Teletubby estate.

teletubbies vacuum noonoo outside
In the episode ‘Fixing Things,' Noo Noo is outside for the only time. © Video Still/YouTube

By the way, this is just as rare as the use of the brush accessory you see on top of Noo Noo. Only in the episodes ‘Swans' and ‘Big Hug,' does Noo Noo use this accessory, which resembles a furniture brush.

At first, the idea was that Noo Noo would be a space robot

Noo Noo most closely resembles a canister vacuum cleaner. It moves on wheels and has a flexible gray vacuum hose through which it sucks everything in. But did you know that in the initial sketches, the idea wasn't for Noo Noo to be a vacuum cleaner at all?

The creators of Teletubbies originally intended for Noo Noo to be a robot, not a robot vacuum, but a space robot. Why they ultimately chose a vacuum cleaner remains unknown.

So far, Noo Noo has been operated by three different people

Noo Noo is operated remotely, unlike the Teletubby characters where an actor is inside the Teletubby outfit. In total, Noo Noo has been controlled by three different individuals, with two of them still active at the time of writing.

Teletubbies SeriesNoo Noo Operator
1997-2003 & 2007Mark Dean
2015-PresentVictoria Jane
2017-PresentOlly Taylor

The Teletubby vacuum cleaner first appeared in 1977

The very first time Noo Noo is seen is in the episode ‘Ned's Bicycle.' This episode was launched in 1977. This means that the vacuum cleaner is already 26 years old. A vacuum cleaner that navigates independently, communicates, and does its own thing: that is still a futuristic story today.

More movies and series with vacuum cleaners?

Not done watching vacuum cleaners yet? Then check out my previously published list of movies and series with vacuum cleaners in the lead role.

Robbert Tigchelaar
Robbert Tigchelaar

Robbert Tigchelaar has made testing vacuum cleaners his life's work. He has dedicated himself to conducting fully independent and valuable tests of vacuum cleaners to provide consumers with honest advice. His expertise in vacuum cleaners has been highlighted in The Washington Post and the Daily Express.

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