Teletubbies' Tinky Winky actor has died, aged 52

23 January 2018, 11:37 | Updated: 23 January 2018, 12:07

Simon Shelton, one of the actors who played Teletubbies' character Tinky Winky, has died at the age of 52.

Inbetweeners actress Emily Atack said that her "wonderful uncle" had been "taken so suddenly" and was "the kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet".

Shelton took over the role of the handbag-carrying purple Tinky Winky, after original actor Dave Thompson was sacked in 1997.

He also played The Dark Knight in children's TV show Incredible Games, alongside David Walliams.

The actor's son Henry said that Shelton - who was also known as Simon Barnes - died on January 17.

Teletubbies originally ran from 1997 to 2001. In 2008, Shelton said he didn't realise the show was such a worldwide success when he was cast as Tinky Winky.

"I didn't know it would be as big as it was, but I did know as soon as I started working on it that it had something special," he said.

Shelton lived in Ampthill in Bedfordshire with his actress wife Emma, who is best known for her role in the Sheila's Wheels adverts. They had three children together.