When the first episode of Peppa Pig aired on UK televisions back in May 2004, few would have bet on the sort of impact an “anthropomorphic female pig” (as described by Wikipedia) would have on British society as a whole, and on millions of parents and kids finding a relatable alternative to Mickey Mouse and the like.
These days, Peppa Pig is big business. A sixth series has been released earlier this year, while “Peppa Pig Celebrates Chinese New Year” – an 81-minute live action film coinciding with the Year of the pig in China – grossed $14 million in 72 hours.
Entertainment One, the Canadian entertainment company behind the brand, has also seen its share price almost triple over the past three years, largely fueled by Peppa’s antics.
So let’s look into 15 years of Peppa Pig to see what went into the rise - and a few extra facts for some PP fans.
- All episodes of Peppa Pig are available - in the UK - on Nick Jr which you can get on Now TV.
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1. She's not as famous online as you'd think
With only 8.4 million subscribers and a mere 3.27 billion views Peppa Pig is actually a relative minnow in the world of kids TV. Little Baby Bum, another UK-based phenomenon, has more than twice the number of subscribers and a staggering 19 billion video views. Both however are dwarfed by the behemoth that is Cocomelon with its 48 million subscribers and 29 billion page views. That’s more views than Rihanna and Ed Sheeran’s video channels combined.
2. Some very long credits
The opening credits for Peppa Pig lasts 15 seconds and the ending ones around 25 seconds, totalling 40 seconds. That is a significant (and unusually long) chunk of the 310 seconds that an episode of Peppa pig usually lasts. At 13%, it is far higher than other preschoolers favourites like Paw Patrol, Shimmer and Shine or Blaze and the Monster Machines.
Perhaps because of bored kids’ tantrums, the official Peppa Pig channel on Youtube now has compilations of the best of Peppa Pig, around specific themes (Halloween or Birthdays), with most of them lasting more than one hour with one very notable exception...
3. The longest video of them all
At 11 hours and 55 minutes, “Peppa Pig Full Episodes | Muddy Peppa Pig | Peppa Pig 2017 Peppa Pig Official” is the longest official Peppa Pig video, guaranteed to keep kids entertained for far longer than legally allowed. Nearly half a day of fun with the equivalent of 144 episodes of Peppa Pig, an unexpected surprise given that up until recently just under 300 episodes of Peppa Pig were aired with another 117 planned by Entertainment One and Astley Baker Davies.
4. December 2015 as peak Peppa says Google
One might be tempted to believe that Peppa Pig mania has only just descended on planet Earth but the sobering truth is that Peppa Pig hit her peak in 2015; more precisely in December that year according to Google Trends, ever since, there has been a slow drop in interest over time, probably because the overwhelming majority of the audience went straight to Youtube to get their fix of porcine fun.
Surprisingly, it is in South America that Peppa Pig is, historically, the most popular according to Google. In fact, only two English speaking countries account for the top 10 in the past 12 months. The rest are Spanish speaking countries.
5. Some parents hate Peppa Pig
A survey carried out in July 2017 by Childcare found that Peppa Pig was the least favourite show amongst parents. About 2,000 respondents were surveyed and 46% of these respondents pointed to Peppa's (childish) attitude and manner as the reason for downvoting the show, while 28% stated the simplistic storylines were their least favourite part.
Max and Ruby came in at a distant second. Parents seem to prefer more action packed, slapstick comedy programmes like SpongeBob SquarePants, Tom and Jerry or Scooby Doo.
And for those that are fans of the Peppa Pig phenomenon, here are some facts behind the scenes that you may not have known...
6. The official currency of Peppa’s Britain is….
The currency used in Peppa Pig is none other than 'Kregnik' (as per the last few seconds of the Jumble Sale episode). So while the entire Peppa universe is quintessentially British, the currency used is not the Pound Sterling.
Why Kregnik? Perhaps because one of the writers is a secret fan of Indiana-based Gangsta rap artist, King Erk, the latter being an anagram of Kregnik...
7. Madame Gazelle may be a vampire
What a mystery Gigi is... The French-speaking Madame Gazelle is the beloved teacher that has taught two generations of children and still looks youthful as ever. We know from various episodes that she has two sisters who together performed as the “Rocking Gazelles”. In Madame Gazelle’s House, we also caught a glimpse of an RAF roundel, framed, on the wall and the black and white photo of a Gazelle gentleman.
She is also fond of bats which remind her "of the old country" (as we can see in that episode) and doesn’t have a reflection when standing in front of a mirror (the Halloween episode). “That reminds me of home” she said when seeing Suzy Sheep dressed as a vampire. How many clues do you need?
8. Mrs Crocodile is the show's only talking non-mammal
In Peppa Pig, mammals (including humans) are deemed superior to other animals. Insects, turtles and birds do not talk and act as animals wood. Mrs Crocodile however is the only non-mammal to speak and act as a human. She works in the zoo – keeping other animals secure – and even wears a kepi. Oddly, the hedgehog is the only mammal that doesn’t talk in the show.
Google Assistant can run a quiz on Peppa Pig. Just ask OK Google for “Peppa Pig Quiz” to get started.
9. Peppa’s little brother, George, is a genius
He might not be a savant toddler like Edmund Elephant (who can talk) but for many, George is the real genius of the Pig family. He learned to whistle and play the horn in a blink of an eye when her sister struggled; he mastered ice skating on his first try and did a quadruple axel – something that no human has been able to do, like ever – with a perfect landing.
Sure, he can only say a few words (like Dine-saur) but actions speak louder than words sometimes and George is definitely destined to have a bright future. Once he grows up, that is.
10. Even non-carnivores love some fish
Once Daddy Pig had a barbecue with some vegetarian friends (Mr Bull, Mr Zebra, Mr Horse and Mr Rabbit) and although most of the food on the table would suit a vegetarian diet, there was definitely something fishy going on.
You can tell by the sardines neatly arranged on a tray, ready to be fried and gobbled. So yes, even grass-loving animals like some meat sometimes. Peppa, as well, is aware that sardines come stuffed in a box (as seen in the Chloe’s Big Friends episode), primed for consumption.
- All pictures courtesy of Astley Baker Davies Ltd / Entertainment One UK Limited
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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.