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Peppa is like any other four-year-old – she goes to playgroup, loves playing dress-up with her friends, sleeps with her teddy, and sometimes gets annoyed with her two-year-old little brother. Except, of course, that she’s a pig. She and her family love jumping up and down in muddy puddles and occasionally snort mid-conversation.
Four-time winner of British Academy Children’s Awards, plus numerous other accolades for best pre-school animated series, Peppa Pig is obviously onto a winning formula. It’s one of those rare children’s shows that has kids completely entranced … without driving their parents mad.
1. Real-life, everyday adventures
Peppa, her parents and her little brother George have loads of fun together, and every little encounter is an opportunity for learning for Peppa and George. The best thing about their adventures is that they all take place in very ordinary settings, and represent experiences that most kids at home will be able to relate to. Whether they’re feeding the worms in Granny and Grandpa Pig’s garden, meeting a new friend at school, making home-made bubble mixture, dressing up as detectives, going camping or learning to whistle, Peppa, George and their friends never fail to find the fun in any day.
George can only really say one thing in English – “Dinosaur!”. And then he gives an adorable little roar. He also bursts into tears fairly frequently. He’s a great little sidekick to Peppa when they’re at home, but is too little to share or play with others – as evidenced when he and little Richard Rabbit are expected to share their toy dinosaurs with each other at the playground. And when Peppa’s friends and their big cousin Chloe come to visit, George gets short shrift – he even gets coerced into being the baby in Chloe and Peppa’s game. His character really embodies what it’s like to be the youngest in a family … and also allows boys who wouldn’t usually go for a show with a female main character in a red dress to fall in love with it, too.
3. Short and sweet
Peppa Pig episodes are only five minutes long. There are no lulls in the action and even the littlest of viewers will be able to keep up without losing concentration. If you just need five minutes to yourself, one episode of Peppa Pig will keep the kiddies happy and occupied without the risk of them coming to find you in the loo when they get bored.
4. Very interesting vehicles
One of the joys of Peppa Pig is the many different modes of transportation that the various animals in Peppa’s world ride in – or on. Grandpa Pig has a boat that he takes out on weekends; Mummy and Daddy Pig have a red car with a roof that can go up or down when you push a big button on the dashboard; Miss Rabbit drives a fire engine; Mr Zebra the postman has a big van; and Grandad Dog the mechanic drives a tow truck. The kids all ride bicycles and scooters – with helmets that were added years after the show first aired in the UK (as were the Pig family’s seatbelts and car seats; in the original animation, there were no safety belts, which the producers decided to rectify after receiving several complaints).
5. Funny pets
Some of the animals on Peppa Pig have their own pets. (The key here is that the talking animals are all mammals, while their pets are birds, reptiles and fish.) And they’re the source of much of the show’s humour. Granny and Grandpa Pig’s Polly Parrot goes “on holiday” to Peppa and George’s house while Granny and Grandpa go away, and Granny Pig asks to speak to her on the phone after they’ve left, with Polly repeating everything that is said. But when all four of the Pigs run out to meet the ice cream van, they leave the door open … and Polly flies away. Another escaping and perplexing pet is Dr Hamster the vet’s Tortoise called Tiddles, who has a bad habit of running away and getting stuck high up in a tree until the rescue services can get to her.
6. The grown-ups don’t always know everything
When Mummy Pig’s computer breaks, it’s up to Daddy Pig to fix it. He does exactly what you’d do in the same position – he turns it off and on again. But later, when Granny and Grandpa Pig get stuck in a faulty car wash, everyone expects Daddy Pig to be able to fix it. Granny Pig also has a real “duh” moment on Christmas Day when Santa appears in their living room after forgetting Peppa’s present (a doll that walks and talks and closes its eyes when it goes to sleep), and Granny exclaims, “He … he came down our chimney!”. “Of course he did, Granny,” says Peppa.
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