Travelling across to London for the first time in ages, I reverted to my old behaviour of forgetting to sleep on the flight and devouring the free newspapers from the lounge instead.
But it wasn’t until I reached a copy of Metro on the Central Line tube that I stumbled across the story about a Tombliboo. Here’s a selection of pun-ridden headlines from today's papers (some online) covering the story:
- (Metro) TV teddy outfit ‘put me at risk’
- (Scottish Daily Record) Kids’ Show Suit Left Me Tombli-Bruised
- (Birmingham Post) Sacked Tombliboo tells of torment in the Night Garden
- (Anorak.co.uk - satirical spoof) An Industrial Tribunal In the Night Garden
- (Telegraph.co.uk) Faulty suit ‘put Iggle Piggle actor in danger' now changed to Iggle Piggle co-star ‘fired over suit complaint’ - which is a little more accurate since the actor didn’t play Iggle Piggle
- (This is London) The Nightmare Garden
- and finally ...
- (Black Enterprise) Going, Going, Gone - My Desperate Bid to Find Iggle
- (The Sun) Gay hell of telly Tombliboo
It’s a story - that will interest and possibly disturb AiB reader and ItNG-aficionado Miffy - about a Birmingham employment tribunal following the dismissal of Isaac Blake from his job in July 2006 as the actor inside one of the Tombliboo suits (he played Ooo, the brown and pink one) working for Ragdoll production company who make toddler favourite In the Night Garden.
The Birmingham Post reports that yesterday the actor explained to the tribunal that “he was dismissed from his job after complaining about a faulty Animatronic suit which left him injured”.
The suits contain a camera that provides the actor trapped inside some visibility of the flowers they’re about to trip over in the Night Garden. Blake told the tribunal that he fell off a chair and hurt himself after being told to jump around when the camera cut out inside his faulty suit. Claims were also made that he suffered pelvic injuries after wearing the Tombliboo suit for a protracted period.
Other aspects of yesterday’s tribunal evidence reported in the Sun and Metro include allegations that he “was called a ‘bitch’ and ‘faggot’” by a colleague and then told to “shut up and get on with it” when he made a formal complaint.
Update - Tuesday 8pm - The hearing continued with the Guardian reporting evidence given on the second day by Ragdoll staff alleging that he made remarks about "the totty on set".
The hearing continues ... but it's revealing a whole new side to the normally tranquil Night Garden (except those moments when the Pinky Ponk gets stuck in a tree).
Update - Thursday - Blake lost his case for unfair dismissal today - four of the five claims were lost, but one was upheld. According to the Guardian, Blake was awarded £2000 "after the tribunal ruled that he had suffered harassment when he was twice called a 'faggot' by colleagues". So there won't be an excess of Pinky Ponk juice being drunk tonight.