AS if Martin Ronan wasn’t fully aware of the pressure that’s on him and his team to deliver one of the most eagerly-awaited shows, the sight of 2,000 people queuing up outside Manchester’s Palace Theatre this summer for the launch party of Teletubbies Live was conclusive proof.

It is 20 years since the four colourful characters who spoke their own language first appeared on TV screens. and next week, for the first time, they will star in their own live stage show.

Martin has a vast amount of experience bringing children’s favourites to the theatre including Peppa Pig, but he admits that being executive producer for Teletubbies Live is his most challenging role yet.

“We just didn’t expect the reaction we got at the launch party,” he said. “We thought 50 or 60 would be a good number and over 2,000 people turned up. It had a bigger reaction than the Lion King or Wicked, which are two well established, global production.

“It just shows what an amazing brand it is and what longevity the Teletubbies have."

Because Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po have so many devoted fans, Martin admits it means the team behind the stage show have to be very careful.

“One of the challenges we have in taking something from TV to the theatre is yes it has to be the same, in that it has to look and feel like the Teletubbies, but it also has to be different,” he said.

“If it’s not different there is no point, you may as well just stay at home and watch it on TV.

“We are making it interactive so that the children are up and dancing and totally getting involved in the show.

“We have commissioned original music which allows children to get more involved. We want to make it an experience that the parent and child can share, that is a really important thing.”

As well as a career in the theatre Martin can also call on his own personal experience to shape the show for a young audience - he’s the father of three-year-old twin girls.

“I know that seeing your little ones enjoying something in a live environment is such a magical thing,” he said.

The show has taken two years of work to bring to the stage from developing the concept of the show to producing a script and then finally casting and rehearsals.

“It’s a long process to get everything right but you have to give it that time,” said Martin. “It’s not just something that you can throw together.”

The show which opens in Manchester next week will tour the UK with dates confirmed until September 2018. In March, a second cast is due to head off across the Atlantic to delight American audiences.

Not bad for a TV show which when it first aired caused a storm of controversy with opponents claiming the way the characters spoke their own language would not help children develop their linguistic skills.

“The irony is that the Teletubbies are speaking a language which a child understands whereas parents are thinking ‘what on earth are they talking about?’ I know from my little girls, that they get it completely and that’s the magic of it,” said Martin.

“I also think that we all get the show more than we did 20 years ago and appreciate how it engages with a very young audience.”

Certainly Martin believes that the show will appeal to one of the youngest theatre audiences ever with children as young as one very welcome.

“It is a pre-school show,” he said. “which places extra demands on you when you are putting the whole thing together.

“For children in the 2-3 age group, the majority are not even familiar with panto let alone other forms of theatre,” he said.

“For us it’s more about imagining two-year-olds in their living room jumping up and down their brother or sister and trying to recreate that with 1,500 friends. That’s a challenge. What we are trying to do is make every child feel as though they have a part to play in the show.”

And parents too aren’t being left out.

“It may be that this show will be the first time that they too have been to the theatre,” said Martin. “We don’t want them to feel intimidated or that it’s a stuffy environment.”

The live show will be split into two halves of around 25 minutes each.

“From experience we have found that young children can sustain their interest for that long,” he said.

“Twenty years ago when Teletubbies launched there wasn’t huge amount of theatre for young children. This is the last big one that’s never been done on stage before.

“The time is right for it. It’s fun and interactive and joyful and I think we all need a bit of that in our lives at the moment.”

Teletubbies Live, Palace Theatre, Manchester, Friday, November 17 to Sunday, November 19. Details from 0844 871 3019 or