Peppa Pig is a British preschool animated television series directed and produced by Astley Baker Davies in association with Entertainment One, Nick Jr. and Channel 5. The show revolves around Peppa, an anthropomorphic female pig, and her family and peers. The show originally aired on May 31, 2004, and there have been six series as of 2019, the most recent of which commenced broadcasting in February 2019 in the UK. The series is shown in 180 territories including the UK and US. Reruns were broadcast on the Nick Jr. on Nick block from December 25, 2017 to February 9, 2019.
On December 31, 2019, Hasbro acquired Entertainment One, including the Peppa Pig franchise, for a US$3.8 billion deal.
On January 31, 2020 Harley Bird announced that she would be stepping down from the role of Peppa Pig.
BackgroundPeppa Pig is a children's programme broadcasting on Channel 5 and Nick Jr. in the UK, Nickelodeon/Nick Jr. in the US, ABC 4 Kids in Australia and Discovery Kids in Latin America, including Brazil. Each episode is approximately five minutes long. The show revolves around Peppa, an anthropomorphic pig, and her family and friends. Each of her friends is a different species of animal. Peppa's friends are her age, and Peppa's younger brother George's friends are his age. Episodes tend to feature everyday activities such as attending playgroup, going swimming, visiting their grandparents, cousins, going to the playground or riding their bikes.
The characters wear clothes, live in houses, and drive cars, but still display some characteristics of the animals on which they are based. Peppa and her family snort like pigs during conversations in which they are speaking English, and the other animals make their respective noises when they talk, with some exhibiting other characteristics, such as the Rabbit family's squeaking sounds and enjoyment of carrots. The Rabbits are also the sole exception to the rule of human-like habitation, in that they live in a burrow in a hill, though it has windows and is furnished in the same way as the other houses. The characters also blush when embarrassed and their mouths express other emotions such as sadness, happiness, irritation, bewilderment and confusion. Although the main characters—mostly mammals—are anthropomorphic, other animal characters are not, such as Tiddles the tortoise, Polly Parrot, and the ducks. The narrator of the series, John Sparkes, reinforces the action and humour, saying things like "Oh, dear" when something unfortunate happens or "Look out!" when a character is doing something unsafe.
The first series of 52 five-minute episodes started on Channel 5 on May 31, 2004, and had its American premiere as part of Cartoon Network's Tickle-U preschool television programming block on August 22, 2005, redubbed with American actors, and Noggin in December 2007 and January 2008. As of 2011, the series airs on Nick Jr. in the US with the original British dub. It can also be seen on Nick Jr. in the UK, Portugal, Italy, Benelux, Scandinavia and Australia. In Taiwan the show can be seen on Playhouse Disney. The second series of 52 episodes began on Channel 5 on September 4, 2006, with Cecily Bloom replacing Lily Snowden-Fine as Peppa, among other cast changes. The third series started broadcasting on the Channel 5 kids block Milkshake! on May 4, 2009 with Harley Bird replacing Cecily Bloom and Lily Snowden-Fine as Peppa.
Episodes and DVD releases
BooksThere is a line of personalised books in which any child can be added into the story with Peppa and her friends. There is also a series of books based on Peppa Pig, one of which, Peppa Meets the Queen, was written to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Film and "cinema experience"A 15-minute film called Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots was released on 14 February 2015 alongside several episodes of the TV series. As of December 2015, it had grossed £2,326,328.
A second film, branded a "cinema experience" was released on 16 March 2017, and was shown in cinemas on 7 April 2017. It features nine exclusive new episodes, four of which share the same theme, Peppa's holiday in Australia. Between the episodes are segments with a live-action host named Daisy and Peppa and George as 3D puppets, based on the Peppa Pig Live stage show.
Peppa Pig World Theme ParkPeppa Pig World, a family theme park located in the New Forest, Hampshire, opened on 9 April 2011 at Paultons Park, Hampshire, UK with seven rides, an indoor play zone, a muddy puddles water splash park, smaller play areas and themed buildings.
MerchandisePeppa Pig, the Entertainment One brand, grossed over £200 million in UK merchandise sales in 2010, far exceeding the 2009 figure of £100 million. Additionally, for the first time in the brand's history, NPD figures for the year reveal that Peppa Pig was the number one pre-school property in the total toy market for 2010 – moving up four places from its previous position in 2009. Now in its seventh year, new licensees continue to join the Peppa Pig licensing programme, which currently has 63 licensees on board.
In addition to episode DVDs, a variety of licensed Peppa Pig products are available, play including video games and other toys such as playsets, playing cards, vehicles, and stuffed toys. Merchandise has also been expanded to include household items such as bathroom products, stationery, bed-linens, food, drink, clothing, and jewellery. Licensees include Holland Publishing in the United Kingdom. A music album titled My First Album was released in July 2019.
Criticism, controversy, concerns and influencesPeppa and her family did not wear seat belts in the first two series. After receiving several complaints, Astley Baker Davies announced that all future animation would include characters wearing seat belts, and that the relevant scenes in the first two series would be re-animated to include them. Similar changes were also made to early episodes with characters riding bicycles to add cycle helmets, which were not included in the original versions.
In April 2010, during the UK General Election campaign, E1 Entertainment confirmed Peppa would not be attending the launch of the UK Labour Party's families manifesto "in the interests of avoiding any controversy or misunderstanding". Peppa had previously been used to promote the Labour government's Sure Start programme.
In 2012, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation received a complaint that the episode "Mister Skinnylegs" was not appropriate for Australian audiences, since it encouraged befriending spiders. Given the toxicity of some common Australian spiders, the complaint was upheld and the episode was restricted from being aired on the ABC's television networks.
In late May 2014, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Mark Scott expressed fears about the future of Peppa on Australian television, given Australian federal budget cuts to ABC funding that were said to affect its ability to pay for, and broadcast, overseas media products such as Peppa Pig. Australian media noted the character's appeal to Australian toddlers and echoed concerns about the future of her Australian distribution rights. Australian Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce made reference to the character as a menu item at a Thai restaurant, while conservative columnist Piers Akerman thought that Peppa "pushes a weird feminist line". On 28 May 2014, then-Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull quelled fears about the future of Peppa Pig on Australian TV, by tweeting that: "Contrary to media rumours, Peppa's is one snout we are happy to have in the ABC trough".
During September 2015, the cartoon once again entered the realm of political parody, as commentators referenced it when making light of the supposed Piggate scandal revolving around David Cameron. Earlier in 2015, former UK health minister Norman Lamb said that programmes such as Peppa Pig should include gay characters, because having arbitrary boundaries as to what relationships are acceptable in children's television was "not equitable".
The British Medical Journal carried a light-hearted article in its Christmas 2017 edition, which suggested that although the programme includes numerous "positive public health messages, encouraging healthy eating, exercise, and road safety", it ran the risk of "contributing to unrealistic expectations of primary care" by depicting general practitioner Doctor Brown Bear as making out-of-hours home visits as soon as contacted about apparently trivial illnesses, and dispensing medicines rather too freely. The media company responsible for Peppa Pig offered no comment when contacted about the article by the BBC.
Peppa in ChinaPeppa Pig is popular with mainstream China, and has been featured by official news media such as People's Daily, and even endorsed by People's Liberation Army and Chinese weapons manufacturer Norinco. However, social media posts featuring concerned parents complaining against Peppa Pig have also gone viral. In May 2018, digitally manipulated contents featuring adult content with Peppa Pig were blocked on the video app Tik Tok, also known as Douyin in China, due to concerns about exposure of adult content to children. According to some media estimates, some 30,000 clips referenced under "#PeppaPig" were removed by the site. The ban was a result of prevalence of adult content featuring Peppa Pig created by shehuiren subculture, which used Peppa Pig as a criminal "mobster" icon, with members of the subculture creating adult-humored memes and tattoos using imagery from the cartoon. Original Peppa Pig cartoons remain accessible on all online platforms, including Tik Tok.
Despite the above controversy, the series and character remain popular within mainstream Chinese culture, as two Peppa Pig theme parks are set to open in Beijing and Shanghai in 2019. In early 2019, to celebrate the Year of the Pig, the 81-minute animation/live-action film Peppa Pig Celebrates Chinese New Year was released in China. Before the film's release, a five-minute live-action promotional trailer went viral on social media in China, garnering a billion views and being re-posted by numerous state media outlets. The film opened on 6 February 2019, and made US$14 million in the first three days.
Awards and nominationsAwards
- British Academy Children's Awards
- * 2012, Winner for Best Pre-School Animation
- * 2011, Winner for Best Pre-School Animation
- * 2011, Winner for Best Performer
- * 2005, Winner for Best Pre-School Animation series
- Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2005, Winner of the Grand Prize, The Crystal for Best TV Production
- Bradford Animation Film Festival 2005, Winner of Best Children's Animation Series
- Cartoons on the Bay Festival 2005, Winner of Pulcinella Award for Best European Programme of the Year
- Cartoons on the Bay Festival 2005, Winner of Pulcinella Award for Best Pre-School Series
- Cartoons on the Bay Festival 2005, Children's audience award for Best Pre-School series
- British Academy Children's Awards
- * 2013, Nomination for Best Pre-School Animation
- * 2013, Nomination for Best Writing
- * 2013, Nomination for Best Multiplatform
- * 2010, Nomination for Best Pre-School Animation
- * 2010, Nomination for Best Writing
- * 2009, Nomination for Best Pre-School Animation
- * 2009, Nomination for Best Writing
- * 2008, Nomination for Best Pre-School Animation
- * 2007, Nomination for Best Pre-School Animation
- * 2004, Nomination for Best Pre-School Animation