The Lion and Bear is one of the seven Magical Events. It features two characters, The Scary Lion With Big Scary Teeth and The Bear With Brown Fuzzy Hair. The two characters are both made out of wood and travel using the appearance of a skateboard and are not animated. It was the only magical event (other than the Dancing Bear) to feature the clips with the Teletubbies a lot than any other event. The original sketch was first aired in 1997 in the episode "See-Saw". However, the sketch became controversial due to its scary and inappropriate appearance and nature for children. The problems were the uncanny appearances of the characters (which are made of wood and have uncanny eyes, ears, and arms and also appear to move on their own), the scary voices, scary scenes, music and the dialogue, such as "I'm the bear! I'm the bear! And I'm coming!" in a scary voice. Therefore, a brand new edited sketch (which was also banned in other countries, such as the US), with non-scary nature and more humourous content, such as a doorbell ringing when the bear pops out from behind a tree and funny piano music, was made. The edited sketch was first aired in the episode "Asian Storyteller (The Fox)". 16 other episodes showing the original sketch had the edited sketch put in.
The Lion and Bear appear on some various episodes. They are:
See-Saw (original sketch) (First appearance)
Numbers - Two (original sketch)
Dirty Dog (original sketch)
Paddling Pool (original sketch)
Sophie - Art Circus (original sketch)
Leaves (original sketch)
Becky and Jed Finding Eggs (original sketch)
Irish Dancing (original sketch)
Dentist (original sketch)
The Pier (original sketch)
Long Horns (original sketch)
Jigsaw - Elephant (original sketch)
Feeding Baby Penguins (original sketch)
Colours - Brown (original sketch)
Look! (UK DVD extra ) (edited sketch)
Asian Storyteller (The Fox) (edited sketch)
Dragonflies (edited sketch) (Last appearance)
Game Time (Video) (original sketch)
Tubby Custoast Day (Video) (edited sketch)
Teletubbies: Happy Birthday! (UK DVD) (original sketch)
Teletubbies: Autumn Fun (UK DVD) (original sketch)
Number Fun (Australian DVD (original sketch)
The Lion And The Bear is one of the things that made Teletubbies very controversial. It has been too scary for its target audience (children aged 1-4). Parents have made numerous complaints on the theatrical based sketch for the age-inaccurate music, scary voices, dialogue and the horrifying chase sequence at the end of the sketch. Due to the age-inappropriateness of the sketch, many younger children are so frightened of the two characters so much that they suffer from anxiety. Instead, it was appropriate enough for people aged 10 and older, especially teenagers. This shows that the producers of the show did not pay attention to the target audience which resulted in many complaints and therefore forced them to edit the sketch with the addition of more comedy styled scenes, the scary music taken out and replaced with more jolly styled music, humourous sound effects and several lines redone to match the target audience, but it still gained negative reception. The sketch is banned on TV in the USA, France, Japan, and Russia (though both sketches can be seen online, such as on YouTube). Some countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Norway and Iceland show the edited sketch on TV but have banned the original sketch from being shown on children's TV (though the original sketch is still available online and on videos). Other countries like Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, India, Finland, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, China, Sweden, Spain, and Bulgaria have no problems and both versions are still shown on TV. On the UK DVD "Look!", the edited sketch was shown. The original sketch was kept on the UK DVD "Happy Birthday!." The edited sketch was not intended to be aired in the USA, France, Japan, and Russia, for that much sake.
One question circling around is why the edited sketch is not shown in said countries. The original sketch was given so much controversy that TV stations in these countries thought that the highly negative backlash it received would worsen if they showed the edited sketch; thus, both versions of the sketch are banned on TV. It is currently unknown if the edited sketch will be shown in those countries sometime in the future.
Other changes in the edited sketch are the ambiguity is limited as although viewers still don't know where ground level is, there are more clues as to where it is, and the fake mirror image camera shots are all natural shots filmed from behind a different shot. Some people think that there are mirror images in the edited sketch - however, they are trick shots. The characters no longer pop out of nowhere, as the camera shots are faster with the characters appearing immediately instead of waiting a few seconds. There is more time in the hiding and seeking parts of the sketch, which increases speed and means it's much less scary. Next, viewers finally know what the characters are, they're mechanical wooden toys. Mechanical sounds like squeaking wheels and vibrating wood are heard to reassure viewers that they're not living creatures, to make the sketch more funny, and the sounds make viewers more clear the characters aren't popping out of nowhere. The camera also stays still during the sketch, and doesn't follow the characters. The scary voices and the scary scenes have also been taken out to match the target audience. The edited sketch is much more relaxing with nice music playing instead of scary music. It is almost, but not quite scare-free, having lost the majority of its original scariness.
Other problems in the original sketch are ambiguity, as viewers don't know where the hill the Teletubbies are watching the event from is, where the "ground" is as there is no view of the hill from there. In addition, many camera shots are fake; instead of being real they are mirror images created on computers, upping the scare factor. The characters also pop out of nowhere, making where they've come from unknown and viewers don't know if they're robots, mechanical toys or models. They are actually wooden, mechanical toy animals on skateboards - however, there are no mechanical sounds heard, scaring viewers into thinking the animals are mutants with mind powers when they aren't. The camera also moves creepily during the magical event, as it follows the characters. The creepy camera shots are what scare the most viewers.
Synopsis (The 1997-1999 Original Sketch)
The original sketch starts with the Magic Windmill spinning with some creepy, scary and upbeat instruments playing instead of the usual soft magical tune. The Teletubbies arrive at their usual place in Teletubbyland. Once they arrive at their place, unlike in other Magical Events, the scene does not change to the Sun Baby, but instead it changes to the Teletubbies looking around, and then, unlike in other Magical Event Sketches, they turn back towards the camera and say "Uh-Oh!" Normally, there are soft magic event tunes that play in the other sketches, but in this sketch, a scary tune is heard. While the Teletubbies jump up and down, the Bear then says in a haunting echoing voice: "It's The Bear! It's The Bear! And I'm coming!" The Teletubbies jump in shock and then run off to the destination of the magical event to a different way by running down the path on the right giggling and shouting (Laa-Laa says Run Away) instead of going straight on, then they sit down in front of some trees up a hill somewhere in Teletubbyland. The Bear then repeats, "I'm The Bear! I'm The Bear! And I'm coming!" in a horrific sinsister voice, scaring the Teletubbies. After a short wait, she pops up out of nowhere and exclaims "I'm The Bear, I'm The Bear! With Brown Fuzzy Hair!" She wanders around Teletubbyland saying "I'll go running over here... and I'll go running over there!" which gives the Teletubbies a half-terrified laugh. She repeats her opening sentence again and hides around the hills laughing and saying "I'll hide over here... (She giggles) and I'll hide over there! Can you see me?" to the Teletubbies and the viewers. After another wonder around Teletubbyland she repeats her opening sentence a 3rd time and then states that she knows a "joke." As scary music plays, she hides behind a tree and pops out again. Her eyes roll in circles and she goes "Blub-a-lub-a-blub-a-blub!" whilst sticking her tongue out and making the Teletubbies laugh at her. She then repeats her opening sentence a final time and tells the Teletubbies and the viewers that she's hiding from the Lion but he doesn't know where. She then says: "Shhh!" to the Teletubbies and the viewers and goes to hide, waiting to perform her joke again. The Teletubbies then turn to the viewers and also go: "Shhh!" then they turn back and go: "Ooh!" There is a short and scary sequence showing Teletubbyland almost barren probably because the other residents are scared of the Bear and Lion. From the front view of a tree the Bear is hiding behind with 3 other trees on the right, three hills with flowers, a field with more trees and flowers, and finally a mirror image of the 4 trees in the scariest view possible. The Bear is hiding behind the tree on the far right. The Lion (not seen) starts growling and roaring so much that the clouds move and the trees bend and shake much to the surprise of the Teletubbies. This happens 3 times, with the Lion getting more vicious and angry each time. He then pops out of nowhere, like the Bear. He lets out a really scary growl and then says to the Teletubbies and the viewers: "I am the Scary Lion! WITH BIG SCARY TEETH!!" Tinky Winky screams and the other Teletubbies laugh in shock. The Lion then says "I'm scary on the top... and I'm scary underneath!" He then laughs, surprising the Teletubbies. The Lion then states, "I am The Scary Lion, as a matter of fact, I'm scary around the front... and I'm scary around the back!" He wags his tail, laughs, and growls, making the Teletubbies laugh. He then wonders around Teletubbyland just as the Bear did and continues to growl and roar fiercely. Still growling, he passes the trees in the area where the Bear is hiding. She pops out from behind her tree quickly saying "Boo! Boo!" She gets back to hiding as a creepy tune is playing. The Lion growls and stops in front of the trees. He tells the Teletubbies (and the viewers) that he's looking for The Bear and he knows that she is hiding, but he does not know where. He wonders around Teletubbyland looking for The Bear. He looks around the hills and says "Can you see her?" to the Teletubbies and the viewers. He growls and then returns to the trees repeating "Where's the Bear?" three times. The Bear pops out twice, giggling. The Lion gets more and more vicious and angry each time until the Bear pops up and repeats her joke. The Lion sees her and cries, "There's the Bear!" The Bear replies "Catch me!" and they chase each other around Teletubbyland whilst the Bear continues to do the joke and the Lion growls and roars menacingly with the frightening music playing in the background. After they disappear, the Teletubbies all say in an excited and relieved voice "All gone!" and run away giggling. Finally, the Magic Windmill stops spinning.
Synopsis (The 1999-2001 Edited Sketch)
The edited sketch starts with the Magic Windmill spinning with a bird song playing in the background. The Teletubbies then arrive at a place in Teletubbyland however, this time they are giggling, while the Windmill's tune plays in the background. Like in the original sketch, the Sun scene is not shown, and the Teletubbies look around and look back towards the camera but this time, instead of saying: "Uh Oh!" they say: "Oooooooh!" While they jump up and down giggling, the Bear then says "It's the Bear, It's the Bear and I'm coming!" in a much more cheerful voice. The Teletubbies then go "YAY!" and run off to the destination of the event, going the same way they went in the original sketch. They sit down on in front of the trees on the hill from the original sketch, laughing. The Bear then says in an excited voice "I'm the Bear, I'm the Bear and I'm coming!" The Teletubbies laugh and giggle excitedly. After a piano tune plays the Bear pops up and exclaims "I'm the Bear. I'm the Bear. With Brown Fuzzy Hair." before exploring Teletubbyland (with the scary scenes replaced with more comical scenes, like the Bear going behind trees and laughing). The Bear says "I'll hide over here... and I'll hide over here. Can you see me?" Unlike the original sketch, she pops out a lot and says "Can you see me?" again and laughs. Then the Bear pops up again and says she knows a "joke." She hides behind a tree and pops up. She says "Blub a lub a lub!" (with new, more humorous sound effects) with her tongue sticking out and her eyes rolling in circles making the other Teletubbies chuckle as the Bear runs around Teletubbyland blowing the tongue out. She then tells the Teletubbies that she's hiding from the Lion and doesn't know where and hides behind a tree (popping out twice laughing and saying "Shh!"), waiting to perform her joke again. The camera then goes to another hill where a squeaking noise is heard and the Lion then appears saying "I am the Scary Lion!" He growls and then replies: "And I'm looking for the Bear." His personality has changed from being very frightening and intimidating to much more humourous and jolly. He growls cheerfully and then passes by the trees the Bear is hiding behind and says "Hmmmmmm" like a detective. The Bear pops out and says "Boo! Boo!" She gets back to hiding the same tree. The Lion stops in front of the tree and then says he knows she's hiding but he doesn't know where. He then searches for the bear (with more comical scenes) and while finding her he hears her laughing and runs back to the tree she is hiding behind. He says "Where's the Bear?" three times sounding more annoyed each time until the Bear pops out from behind and repeats her joke. The Lion finds the Bear and cries "There's the Bear!" and the Bear says "Catch Me!" and they chase each other around Teletubbyland with the Lion roaring excitedly and the Bear continuing to do her joke with Christmas-like music playing in the background. After they disappear, the Teletubbies all say in a sad and disappointed voice, "All gone!" and remain sitting on the hill. Then, the Magic Windmill starts to spin again, and the Teletubbies say: "Uh Oh!" The Teletubbies then run away giggling. The Baby Sun giggles, and the Magic Windmill stops spinning.