A children's TV actor has struggled to find work since being sacked from the hit show In The Night Garden, a tribunal heard yesterday.

Isaac Blake, aged 28, alleges he was unfairly dismissed from the programme, shown on CBBC, after complaining about a faulty animatronic suit and verbal abuse.

Yesterday a tribunal in Birmingham heard Mr Blake was paid a retainer fee of £40,000 for playing a Tombliboo (right), which he was initially contracted to do from February 2005 to October 2006.

He also received a weekly payment of £500 when shooting was going on.

Mr Blake, from Cardiff, said that since he stopped working for Warwickshire-based Ragdoll in the summer of 2006, he had worked in retail for about eight months, earning £600 a month, and had a one-off choreography job for a council.

He said: "I did find it hard to get employment after getting terminated, because people want to know where you worked before, what you did, so it was hard to get a job."

Marcus Difelice, representing Ragdoll, said Mr Blake was given his notice because of "a loss of confidence" in the performer.

Mr Difelice said that after one incident in which Mr Blake walked off set, halting the expensive production, he was warned his behaviour was "unacceptable".

He added: "There was a dispute with another performer and there was what Mr Davenport (the show's producer) regards as a declining performance."

Mr Blake has said previously that he was called "faggot" and "bitch" by a colleague.

Elisa Laghi, aged 31, has admitted calling Mr Blake a "bitch" during an argument, but said she used the word "faggot" on only one occasion, in jest.

Ragdoll does not accept Mr Blake's Tombliboo suit posed a threat to his health and safety. The company also contends that Mr Blake was self-employed, which the performer disputes.

It also emerged yesterday that there will be no more series of In The Night Garden.

While Teletubbies, also made by Ragdoll, was a repeat series, Mr Difelice said In The Night Garden is a "one-off" production.

"That option of the BBC to have more has been taken away," he said.

The tribunal panel is expected to give its judgment today.