Speaking out for the first time on the issue of the Teletubbies' sexuality, children's entertainer Nikky Smedley, better known as "Laa-Laa" the yellow Teletubby, denied past claims by conservative groups that the much-loved BBC pre-school show was used as a vehicle to promote homosexuality.

"I think it's embarrassing for the people who said it," Smedley told the Birmingham Mail. "What kind of person can take the obvious innocence and turn it into something else? We were hardly sexual beings."

The Teletubbies first faced gay rumors shortly after premiering in 1997. Two years later, televangelist Jerry Falwell blasted the Teletubby known as Tinky Winky for being a "gay role model," pointing to his handbag and triangle-shaped antenna as "proof."

The BBC and the show's US distributor both denied the allegation, with Itsy-Bitsy Entertainment president Kenn Viselman famously remarking, "he's not gay. He's not straight. He's just a character in a children's series."

[Videogum, photos via Getty, Solihull College]