Shoppers trapped in Laa-Laa-land

Hamleys has been doing it for weeks. Now Mothercare has started doing it too. The childrenswear and toy retailer said yesterday that it is having to ration Teletubbies, this year's hottest toy item, in order to prevent irate parents from handbagging each other in Christmas queues up and down the country.

Mothercare said it is has imposed a limit of one Teletubby doll per person, as demand is so great. Storehouse, the retail group which owns Mothercare and BhS, said that desperate parents had begun queuing outside its stores from 2am in order to ensure they got their hands on Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, the cuddly, roly-poly dolls based on the characters from the hit BBC children's television programme.

With demand for Teletubbies far outstripping demand, and Spice Girl dolls not expected in the shops until next month, Storehouse is hoping to achieve Christmas success with some of its home-grown novelties.

This year BhS has shipped in large quantities of electronic T-shirts which cost pounds 18 for adults and pounds 14 for children.

So far there are three kinds, based on football, motor racing and aliens. They feature fabric-covered patches which, when pressed, make sounds such as a crowd roaring when a goal is scored or of Formula One cars revving on the starting grid. The alien version utters the message "We come in peace" when certain parts of the garment are pressed. Others yet to hit the shelves include a guitar version which releases a Jimi Hendrix-style guitar solo, a "999" emergency services model and a "Hand of Passion" version which gives palm readings. BhS says they expect the T-shirts to sell like hot cakes.

BhS has already achieved notable successes with novel Christmas gifts in the past few years, witness its huge sales in 1995 of chocolate body paint. Sold in little pots, the edible paint became known as a popular source of adult entertainment on cold winter evenings. The paint has even been credited with saving marriages, selling a staggering 400,000 pots last Christmas. So popular has it become that it is now being sold in larger "Dulux" sized pots, as well as the more modest sizes first introduced.

"There are no instructions on the pots, " a BhS spokesman said. "It is just up to people's imagination."

But for parents who do not manage to secure a Teletubby doll for their beloved toddler this Christmas there is a salutary tale from Kent. Sue Burt managed to get her hands on all four Teletubby dolls as well as a Teletubby TV for her son after ordering them back in July. But with Christmas now just weeks away, he has decided Teletubbies are not his thing and switched his affections to Thomas the Tank engine. Ms Burt is now trying to sell the toys or swap them for something else.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
people
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us