An actor who played a character in the award-winning BBC children's TV show The Night Garden claims he was put in danger by being made to wear a faulty suit, an employment tribunal has heard.
Isaac Blake, aged 28, told the hearing he went to hospital twice and was forced off work for a week after suffering injury while performing on the popular CBBC show In The Night Garden as a Tombliboo.
The programme is a BBC children's television series, particularly aimed at babies and pre-school children, produced in 2005 by Stratford-based Ragdoll Productions.
Mr Blake says he was dismissed from the show for complaining about the faulty Animatronic suit and also claims he was discriminated against and verbally abused for being homosexual. He claims a colleague called him a "bitch" and a "faggot", but when he made a formal complaint he was told to "shut up and get on with it."
The trained dancer, from Cardiff, began working on the show in March 2005 and had his contract terminated in July 2006.
At the tribunal in Birmingham, Mr Blake accused Ragdoll Limited of unfair dismissal saying they ignored his concerns about the faulty camera inside his suit.
On one occasion in November 2005, Mr Blake says he was told to jump up and down on a chair, but feared for his safety when the camera inside his suit cut out.
Mr Blake said: "When the camera failed I had no way of seeing where I was going. I was concerned at the difficulty of acting in the suit when I couldn't see anything.
"I told the production team my camera had cut out and they told me to keep going. I said I didn't feel safe but they just told me to get on with it.
"I believe I was being bullied and had been intimidated and forced to work in the suit.
"If you were injured, they sat you down and patched you up and intimidated you to carry on.
"Rag Doll were more concerned with the shooting schedule than the safety of the performers."
After falling from the chair, Mr Blake suffered bruising and was signed off from work for 24 hours.
In another incident in May 2006, Mr Blake says he suffered pelvic injuries after being asked to lean over for long periods while wearing the pink and brown suit.
After visiting hospital he was signed off work for a week with an injured pelvis.
Mr Blake added: "I do believe in my heart of hearts that if I didn't mention anything about the suit or the verbal abuse, I would still be working at Ragdoll now.
"I complained that the choreography caused me pain, but I was told to carry on regardless. "It was fun being a teddy bear, it was a fun job. If I had just shut my mouth and took the abuse, I would still be there."
Representing the production company, Markus Difelice, said Mr Blake had only complained about the external camera feed in his suit and there were two other ways to see which were a second camera feed and a hole through the mouth.
"At the time, it was raised as a performance issue and only now in this tribunal is it being raised as a health and safety issue.
"Over time you evolved with your character, on the occasion when you fell from the chair we believe you over-acted, you lost your balance and you fell."
Mr Difelice also added that the company did carry out rigorous health and safety checks and recommendations.
The programme was created by Anne Wood, Ragdoll's creative director, and Andrew Davenport, who also created the Teletubbies.
The company is also responsible for producing other children's classics such as Rosie and Jim, Tots TV, Brum and Badjelly the Witch. The series was announced in October 2005 and 20 episodes were first broadcast in March 2007.
In November 2007 the show won the British Academy Children's Film and Television Award for Best-Pre School Live Action Programme.
It is narrated by Derek Jacobi and features a mix of actors in costumes, puppetry and computer animation. The hearing continues.