The Magic Windmill (or simply The Windmill) is a well-known object in Teletubbyland. It is most notable for signifying TV Events, Magical Events (original series), and Tubby Bye-Bye to the Teletubbies in every episode.
Usually, the Magic Windmill is seen spinning slowly in the background in a counterclockwise (or anticlockwise) direction. Whenever the wind picks up, the Magic Windmill will begin to spin faster, with magical pink sparkles appearing and surrounding the Magic Windmill.
It is used as a transition method for the Teletubbies. Once the Teletubbies hear the Magic Windmill spinning, they will stop any activity that they are doing, say "Uh-oh!", and immediately go where the Event takes place.
There are three types of Events that can happen when the Windmill spins. They are explained below. It's very rare that the Magic Windmill is mentioned by the narrator or the Teletubbies, the Narrator mentions it in Dad's Lorry, The Rockpool, Badgers and Oooh! along with Dipsy saying "Dipsy watch Windmill".
TV Receiver Sequence/Tummy Tales (1997-2001 Series)
Used once in every episode and 2-4 times in every volume VHS (5 times in Busy Day). The Windmill is spinning with a jolly, upbeat piece of music playing in the background. In See-Saw, the Magical Event tune was playing at the same time as the jolly tune. The Teletubbies have a Big Hug and fall to the ground, where each of their tummies and antennas begin to glow. They all run up to the top of a high hill to get a good signal. Their tummies and antennas each glow again, this time in order. After that, they each say their names before the Windmill chooses a random Teletubby to show a video on their tummy. Once the Teletubby is chosen, their tummy lights up and everyone cheers as they gather up to watch the video clip.
Each video clip features real children asking the viewer to "come and see" what they are doing. The children will show viewers an activity that they are doing (e.g. playing in the rain, herding sheep, etc). After the activity is completed, the children will say goodbye and the clip will end. In most episodes (except the Funny Lady episodes) after the video ends, the Teletubbies will want to see the clip again, so the chosen Teletubby's tummy will light up again, showing the clip one more time, but this time after the video ends, the Baby Sun is shown. However, the clip is shown once in the VHS volumes.
A similar event occurs in the Teletubbies Everywhere segment of the show. One of the Teletubbies will be seen in front of a solid-coloured background. The wind can be heard and the pink sparkles can be seen, but not the Windmill itself, as the sequence does not take place in Teletubbyland. The Teletubby's tummy glows and shows a clip. The clips in Teletubbies Everywhere are educational videos of kids from all around the world, speaking languages other than English.
Sometimes, activities that follow with the TV receiver sequences follow the Tubby Bye-Bye sequence (some activities include the windmill if time allows at the end). If the windmill is shown at that time, the Tubby Bye-Bye event will occur.
In the current series, the windmill, which now looks like a typical farm windmill, spins as the camera slowly moves toward it and an orchestral tune starts to play softly, building up and then stopping for about a couple seconds. The Teletubbies say uh-oh and then run to the area where the Tummy Tales will take place. They run to the area, which happens to be not too far away from the Home Dome. As they are running up to and approaching each other, they are heard giggling, and just like the original series, they have a big hug and fall to the ground. Then the windmill's magic starts to come out, in the form of stars this time. Then, the Teletubbies' antennas and stomachs begin to glow, obviously tickling the Teletubbies as they squirm and giggle while they glow. Unlike the original series, instead of the screens turning blue with sparkles shining, they just simply illuminate a white glow. The order of which they glow is different from the original series, and it is as follows:
In the original series, it was Tinky-Winky, then Laa-Laa, then Dipsy, then Po. A notable addition to this part of the sequence is that flowers can be seen sprouting out of the grass around the Teletubbies while they glow.
Then they will run to the top of a hill to get a better signal. Unlike the original series, the Teletubbies immediately say their names while glowing instead of waiting to say their names after glowing. And then the windmill's stars will turn a certain colour depending on which Teletubby is chosen. If Tinky-Winky is chosen, the stars turn purple. If Dipsy is chosen, the stars turn green. If Laa-Laa is chosen, the stars turn yellow. And if Po is chosen, the stars turn red. For the viewers watching, the stars help them know who will be chosen before they are chosen. Whichever Teletubby is chosen will keep glowing, as the other three's antennas and screens turn off. The Teletubby chosen will stand in the centre, as a play button icon (a reference to YouTube's iconic play button symbol), in the same colour as the Teletubby chosen, appears on their screen. Then one of the other Teletubbies touches the screen to start the video. And then the play button disappears as sparkles fly around on the screen, before the video fades in on the Teletubby's stomach and the camera zooms in as the video starts.
As with the original series, the video will be shown again. On Nick Jr.'s airings, however, it only plays once.
Magical Events (Original Series)
If time allows, towards the end of an episode, the Windmill will begin to spin once more. This time, a special visitor will appear in Teletubbyland. There are seven Magical Events in the series and two that were seen exclusively in the Play With The Teletubbies video game:
- The Animal Parade
- The Dancing Teddy Bear
- The Magic House
- The Magic Tree
- The Three Ships
- The Lion And The Bear
- Little Bo Peep
Before the Windmill whooshes if it's time for a magical event, mostly a cymbal will be heard at the beginning (In See-Saw and some of the VHS's this tune plays for the TV Receiver sequence). And at some point, while the Teletubbies are running to their usual destination, there is an instant silence. Then after a few seconds, the sequence begins with the Windmill spinning fast, with a soft, magical tune in the background. In some episodes it is seen playing the Magical Event tune in a slow version. It sometimes happens with the common windmill animation. In the original Lion and Bear sketch, a creepy, upbeat music piece is heard playing over this tune, while in the edited sketch the normal magical event tune plays with a bird song playing in the background at the beginning.
Po, Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, and Laa-Laa gather up together silently, and the Baby Sun will be seen giggling and laughing. In both versions of the Lion and Bear and in some of the early episodes, e.g. - Painting with Hands and Feet, Playing in the Rain and Photo Faces, the Sun Baby is not shown giggling. The Teletubbies will then look around, hear a sound, and run over to where it came from. There is no sound in the Magic House sketch. In both the original and edited Bear and Lion sketches, the Teletubbies run down the path where they stand in their usual destination, but in the other sketches, they go straight on.
When the Teletubbies run to where the magical event happens, they will then all witness the special visitor. After the visitor is done performing, it will disappear, and the event will end. There are two possible outcomes after the magic event: The Windmill will stop spinning, usually for Tubby Bye-Bye, or the Baby Sun will giggle. If she giggles, then it is time for a dance, or another activity (the Sun may replace the windmill animation and move to the Tubby Bye-Bye event like in Wrapping and Hanukkah for a example)
The Lion and Bear and the Magic House (and possibly the Three Ships) have also been quite controversial for being too scary or creepy for young children, especially the Lion and Bear (Original sketch).
The Magical Events were dropped in the 2015 reboot series.
If there is no time left in an episode after a Magical Event or during (or after) an activity (mostly activities before the TV Receiver sequence), the Windmill will be seen spinning with no musical piece playing in the background. The wind begins to slow down, causing the Windmill to decrease speed. It will spin slower and slower, with the pink sparkles disappearing, until the Windmill completely stops and freezes in place. The Tubby Bye-Bye sequence then follows.
The reboot episodes always end with the windmill stop spinning, but it is shorter.
The Magic Windmill resembles a large pinwheel, though it is still considered a windmill. It has a tan propeller (occasionally appearing brown) with a metal turbine stand. A metal cube which holds the propeller from behind is also visible. When it spins fast, pink sparkles surround it.
In the reboot series, the Windmill is completely brown and resembles a farm windmill (see pic on right).
The Windmill stands on top of a high hill behind the Tubbytronic Superdome, where it can be seen from all over Teletubbyland. There is also a brown path in front of it, which starts from the left of it, then curves in front of it, then curves down to the bottom of the hill, near the Superdome's front doors.
- For some reason, there are some Teletubbies fans that are obsessed with the Windmill (along with the Voice Trumpets). In fact on YouTube, there are a lot of compilation videos and even custom made Windmill clips (Some very well made while others that are not as well made).
- Due to this obsession that fans have of the Windmill, when the reboot series changed the appearance of the Windmill, most of them were not happy to see the Windmill had changed.
- On some Dipsy dolls, it has the Windmill on his stomach. For example: the Dipsy doll from the normal view if you shake it, the windmill will spin, and one has a picture of it from its Stop (start) Spinning view but doesn't spin. Another Dipsy Doll (with a fan), the Windmill is seen on its Original Animation but it still spins with sparkles without the noise.
- In Learn With Teletubbies DVD, it shows the Teletubbies, the Superdome, and the Windmill on its Original Animation with the sparkles without spinning.
- On a Japanese Teletubbies book, the cover uses the render of the Teletubbies walking down a hill shown to the left, but with a different Windmill and sky used.
- The Windmill was designed so that it could be folded down while not filming scenes it was needed. In the early shootings of the first series during 1996, it would be left uncovered. But later on it would be covered with a tarp like the windows and doors of the dome. During filming it would be lifted back up as we see it on screen. If you go to this video and then go to 0:45, you can see the construction of the windmill and the folding mechanism (which would be covered during filming) in 1995.** Included in both images are examples of the mechanism the second picture was taken during the construction of the set.
- As stated from a crew member during the first series filming in the summer of 1996, they would not cover the windmill while not filming and overnight. As it was in a open field, the wind would spin the windmill, stripping the gears on the motor that made it spin, and from that point on they would cover it up (also done so to hide the location of the set from the public).
- The Windmill no longer exists in any form the prop along with the Tubbytronic Superdome. It was removed and destroyed sometime in 2001/2002 stated from multiple witnesses who saw the windmill destroyed in the big skip that was taken away from the site, leaving only the natural hills.
The animations shown here are ones that are seen WITH sparkles unless otherwise noted.
When the Magic Windmill spins, different shots and angles are filmed to fit the certain circumstances that the show could possibly have. Some of the animations filmed are common, while others are only used rarely. Below are descriptions of the animations seen in the series and never before seen animations with sounds that weren't even used for the other ones. Even the one that was used in the Play With The Teletubbies video game. Some of them aren't proper animations just modified versions of normal animations. These ones are marked with a *.
Normal: The Magic Windmill is seen spinning at a close up view in a straight angle. The ground and some of the path and a little hill in front of the path are visible. The sky is light blue with a few clouds. This is one of the most commonly used animations in the series. It can also be seen during the TV Receiver sequence spinning at top speed. A 2nd version of this animation is also used, this version being technically the same as the first, but with a window pasted on it. This 2nd version appears in the following episodes: The Helicopter, Lambs, Owl Babies, Feeding the Chickens, See-Saw, and Here Come the Teletubbies.
Original: Similar to the Normal animation, but filmed from slightly farther away. The sky is also a duller blue colour. This animation was apparently the first one filmed, and is most notably used in the Theme Song. Otherwise, this animation is occasionally used. Normally seen with no window but a window version was also made, and it only appeared in the
episode Humpty Dumpty when the Teletubbies were getting up from falling, This version is technically the same as the first, but with a window pasted on it.
Normal Window: The Windmill is seen spinning through one of the Superdome's windows. Most of the hill including a small path is seen and the Windmill is shown from far away from the Normal animation. The window blocks some of the view. This animation is used whenever the Teletubbies are inside of their superdome when the Windmill decides to spin. A second version of this animation is also used frequently where it is zoomed in to show the windmill better.
Original Window: Similar to the second version of the previous animation, but the Windmill is shown at an angle slightly to the left. The sky is also a very bright blue but with less clouds, unlike the Normal WIndow which has more clouds, and the Windmill seems to pick up speed faster in this animation than usual. This animation is rare, and is most notably used in the VHS/DVD called Here Come the Teletubbies when the Teletubbies are eating Tubby Toast. It was also seen during the Magical Event sequence in Larette Tap Dancing. It was also used in See-Saw, Ned's Bicycle, and The Gingerbread Boy. This is the very first window animation filmed. A picture without the pink sparkles or the window can also be found in a Teletubbies annual. It was also seen on the US cover of Here Come The Teletubbies with the sparkles and without the window.
TV/Magical Event: This animation is used at the beginning of every TV and Magical Event sequence. The Windmill will initially be seen spinning from far away, with the camera zooming in closer to it's propeller. The sky appears sunny, but rather cloudy. The Windmill's propeller is also a dark brown colour, in contrast to it's usual tannish colour. This suggests that a different Windmill propeller was probably used for this scene. It is sometimes heard when the Teletubbies look at it and go "Uh-Oh" with out running away before the music plays.
Stop Spinning: The Windmill is seen up close at a left angle view. The ground is not seen, but the sky is dark blue with thin clouds. The Windmill will initially be seen spinning fast, and will begin slowing down. The pink
sparkles begin to fade away as well. The Windmill eventually stops spinning and freezes in place. Following this animation is the Tubby Bye-Bye sequence but in later episodes, this animation happened in the middle of an episode. This animation is also seen spinning at top speed during the TV Receiver sequence spinning with the sparkles from the Start Spinning animation. It can sometimes be seen when one of the Teletubbies do any activity they are doing. For Example, when Po was scaring off the spider during Little Miss Muffet, and the Teletubbies with the Voice Trumpet and with the Number 4.
Start Spinning: Used in some episodes, and also one of the rarer animations, this is the stop spinning animation that picks up speed. This animation was shown in Emily and Jester, when the Teletubbies bump into each other (this animation later got plastered with the normal animation in Numbers - 8 and The Pier ), in Haymaking when the Teletubbies pop over the hill and say Boo and in Stop and Go. It is mostly used for TV Receiver sequences, but it can be seen for the magical event sequence in the episode Making Flowers and also it's first appearance.
Bird's Eye View: One of the rarer animations. The Windmill is filmed spinning from the bottom of the hill, from a left angle view. Two rabbits can be seen in front of the camera view. Part of the Superdome is also seen. The sky is dark blue with several clouds. This animation is notably used in Here Come the Teletubbies (US Version Only) and Again, Again! This animation was first used in Making Flowers. This animation was also used in the PBS Version of Numbers 1, but this time it cuts to the Windmill spinning for Numbers 1 TV Event without showing the Teletubbies coming outside to see the Windmill spinning.
Close Up (aka Spinny Ride): Used only during the Falling Down Dance sequence. This animation was shown in the episode Walking in the Woods in which it makes the Magical Event tune. After the Teletubbies finish dancing, the wind is
heard, and the camera slowly shifts to the Windmill (which the Teletubbies were dancing close to), and will zoom in on the propeller at a right angle view. It is then is surrounded by the pink sparkles. This is one animation that the Teletubbies do not say "Uh-oh". This animation was also used in the PBS Version of Making Salad, for which that episode had The Tap Dancing Teddy Bear taking place after the dance. The PBS Versions of Numbers - 3 and Running also had that same Windmill clip but without the Magical Event tune. In the PBS Version of Numbers 3, the camera zooms in to the Windmill making the regular whooshing sound with the TV Event music playing, being the only episode on PBS to have that dance at the beginning. The PBS Version of Running also had that same thing happening but this time with the normal Whooshing sound being heard, then it cuts to the TV/Magical Event animation for The Magic House. To add this, The beginning of the TV/Magical Event animation has been cut off making it right to the zooming.
Far Away/Bumps-a-Daisy: The rarest one used. Only used when the Teletubbies dance in front of their house (there are second outcomes: Either the Teletubbies go back inside the dome or the Teletubbies stay outside). After the Teletubbies finish dancing, the wind is heard and the windmill is seen spinning without sparkles, and then they see the windmill spinning with sparkles. Sometimes, the Voice Trumpet is heard when it is spinning without sparkles, indicating the Tubby Bye-Bye event has commenced and that the Teletubbies are late. This animation appears in Naughty Duck without sparkles and the US version of Feeding the Chickens with sparkles.
Running Away: Also very rare. The Teletubbies are seen running out the Superdome's front doors, with Tinky-Winky first and Po last. The Windmill is seen spinning in the top-left corner of the screen. The sky is grey and cloudy, with the wind blowing the trees. A notable time you'll see this animation is in the episode See-Saw where the Teletubbies encounter Lion And Bear for the first time. It was once seen when the Teletubbies ran out of the house with the sparkles around it after the Hey Diddle Diddle activity. It was also used for the TV event in Animals - Snails.
Without Sparkles: Occurring in Dad's Lorry's second segment, the Windmill is seen spinning right next to Dipsy.
Video Game: The Windmill is seen at a computer animated form. Some of the Windmill's stand is seen and the windmill's propeller is seen close with the sparkles around it but not on the stand. This is notably used in the video game "Play With The Teletubbies."
Snow: Used in Christmas in the Snow and Happy Weather Stories the Windmill is seen spinning with sparkles with snow on the ground. The animations used: Normal,
Normal Window (zoomed in version), and TV/Magical Event. The animations not used: The modified version of the Normal animation, Original, Normal Window (far version), and Original Window. Without snow on the ground: Stop/Start Spinning.
Spinning Backwards: Used in some episodes and VHS volumes of Teletubbies the Windmill is seen spinning backwards at a mirrored view. It is not seen spinning with sparkles in this animation.
Bird's Eye View 2.0: The Windmill is seen at it's Bird's Eye View animation with the Stop Spinning and Start Spinning Windmill. On the hill no rabbits are seen, but only the trees, the Stop Spinning and Start Spinning sky half of the Superdome including the little bush next to the Windmill. It does not spin with the sparkles from the Original Bird's Eye View animation. This animation is one of the rarest used. This animation appeared in the episode Rockpool.
Stop Spinning and Start Spinning (with no sparkles): Also seen in Rockpool, The Windmill is seen at it's Stop
Spinning/Start Spinning animation spinning with no sparkles.
With Dipsy and Tinky Winky: This animation is similar to Far Away. Unlike Far Away, Dipsy and Tinky Winky only appear, The whole area of Teletubbyland is seen, the sky is Pale Blue, then the sparkles from the Teletubby Screens animation appear surrounding the Windmill and it cuts to the Normal animation, as Dipsy has to go down the slide and run to the outside of the Superdome to Tinky Winky. It appeared in the episode On Top and Underneath.
Slow Far Away: Similar to Far Away and With Dipsy and Tinky Winky, the Teletubbies fall down, then get up, and the Windmill is seen with sparkles appearing spinning slowly.
Stop Spinning at Cbeebies Concert: The only one used in real life. It shows the Windmill in its stop spinning view at the concert, but it has the magical event music going to the Theme song remix.
With Laa-Laa and Dipsy: Seen in Nursery Rhymes and Numbers - 3, when Dipsy and Laa-Laa were rolling down the hill and the Windmill is seen spinning at slow speed. It is not spinning with the sparkles in this animation.
Video Game 2: Seen in Teletubbies Favourite Games, the Windmill is seen at a computer animated form with the entire stand seen, playing one of the TV Receiver sounds, and the sparkles from the Teletubby Screens animation are seen in white (in contrast to their usual pink color.) There is no ground shown in this animation.
Magical Event Tune Far Away with No Sparkles: 'One of the rarest windmill clips ever, This one only appeared in the episode Photo Faces, It begins with the Windmill making the Magical Event tune with No Sparkles, then the Teletubbies look at it and say Uh-Oh! and Run off and when it cuts to the TV/Magical Event animation the Sparkles appear.'' It is one of the rarest windmill animations ever, only appearing in the episode Photo Faces. It begins with the Windmill making the Magical Event tune with no sparkles, then the Teletubbies look at it and say Uh-Oh! and run off and when it cuts to the TV/Magical Event animation, the sparkles appear.
Running around the house Far Away No Sparkles: Similar to Magical Event Tune Far Away with No Sparkles but the Teletubbies are not shown running away. Therefore, the Teletubbies ran away off-screen. It begins with the Windmill whooshing with no sparkles then the Teletubbies look at it with no sparkles and Say Uh-Oh! then cuts to the TV/Magical Event animation with the Sparkles Appearing, This animation appeared in the episodes Sandcastles, Level Crossing and the US version of Numbers - 3 (India).
Magic Windmill Clips
Here you can watch some Windmill Clips from YouTube and Dailymotion.