Children’s television isn’t what it used to be
An actor who says he was unfairly dismissed from the hit BBC children’s programme In the Night Garden made unacceptable comments to a colleague, an employment tribunal heard today.
Isaac Blake, 28, who brought the unfair dismissal case against Teletubbies producer Ragdoll, made continual reference to ‘totty’ on set, a statement from a colleague said.
Blake has alleged that he was sacked from the programme after he complained about a faulty animatronic suit he had to wear as a Tombliboo character. He also claimed that he was called ‘bitch’ and ‘faggot’ by a colleague.
However, this morning Marcus Difelice, representing Ragdoll, read out statements from production staff alleging that Blake had made inappropriate comments to them.
One of the statements read: ‘Isaac was always making comments to me that were not acceptable.
‘I had to say to him once, ‘Why can’t you have a conversation with me without looking at my crotch?”.
Another said: ‘He [Blake] kept saying he was distracted by the totty on set.’
Blake denied doing so.
The tribunal in Birmingham also heard evidence from Italian actress Elisa Laghi, 31, who performed alongside Blake during filming in 2005 and 2006.
She admitted calling Blake a ‘bitch’ during an argument, but said she had used the word ‘faggot’ on only one occasion, in jest.
She said she had walked into a changing room and saw Blake and another actor who played a Tombliboo with their trousers down.
‘I said, ‘Oh, you two look like a pair of faggots,” Laghi said.
She added: ‘I’m bisexual myself so I don’t have a problem with people being gay.’
Blake said he had been unfairly dismissed because he had raised concerns about health and safety from being in the animatronic suit and about verbal abuse.
‘I think if I had shut my mouth, taken the abuse, worked in a faulty suit, I would still be there now,’ he said.
Ragdoll is contesting the unfair dismissal case. The hearing continues.