The actor Simon Barnes, best known for playing Tinky Winky in the BBC children’s series Teletubbies, has died aged 52. The father of three, who once described being in the Teletubbies as being “a bit like the Beatles or Take That of television”, died four days after celebrating his birthday.

Barnes was a trained ballet dancer and choreographer, but found fame as the tallest Teletubby who always carried a red “magic” handbag.

Barnes’ niece and Inbetweeners actor, Emily Atack, paid tribute to him on Instagram: “My wonderful uncle Simon Barnes has been taken from us all so suddenly. The kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet. Loved by all who knew him, and will be forever.”

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