Get your wellies on. The biggest star in pre-school entertainment is about to jump up-and-down in the lucrative muddy puddle of movies. Peppa Pig is already worth $1billion a year, while her TV show – 218 five-minute animated episodes so far – is seen in 180 different countries, and this Easter will see Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience delight her legion of fans and secretly rather amuse their parents too.
For the uninitiated, Peppa is a four-year-old anthropomorphic porker, who lives with Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and two-year-old George Pig in an unnamed town populated by a Simpson's worth of colourful supporting mammals (of whom Peppa's playgroup pal Pedro Pony is clearly the best – fact). But for those parents who already have to watch Peppa, read Peppa, play Peppa, eat Peppa and visit her at the Peppa Pig World theme park, when you look at Peppa’s town carefully, things aren't quite what they seem...
Planet of the Pigs. And Dogs. And Elephants…
Forget those damn, dirty apes, the time of the primate is over. The world of Peppa Pig actually shows us a future where the world’s mammals have evolved to the top of the food chain, having developed the ability to walk, talk, work, fly to the moon, drive adorable small trains and visit mildly satirical theme parks. They live together in a friendly, peaceful, fairly egalitarian society, which is somehow still ruled over by the Queen. Pure sci-fi, right?
But for human adults watching these future shocks on TV with their young ’uns, the show-makers weave in some jokey nods to The Pigs’s fellow citizens’ less-civilised DNA. Daddy Wolf certainly has a stronger than average interest in huffing and puffing, while Daddy Pig is noticeably very uneasy about Mr Fox’s interest in the chicken coup…
Madame Gazelle is a vampire
Everyone in Peppa's town knows that playgroup teacher Madame Gazelle has a mysterious past: as the badass lead guitarist and singer of The Rocking Gazelles. This explains why she’s so fond of bursting out into every parent's nightmare ear-worm, the Bing Bong song, at a moment’s notice. But Gigi Gazelle is hiding an even darker secret underneath those horns.
Flashback episodes reveal that not only did she also teach Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig, but she suspiciously doesn't appear to have aged a day in between. The kicker comes in the Halloween episode Pumpkin Party, when it’s revealed that she doesn’t have a reflection. Ooooh. Now there's a creepy thought that’s even harder to shift out of your head than the Bing Bong song.
Helicopter pilot. Bus driver. Train driver. Dental nurse. Library assistant. Supermarket cashier. Theme park ticket seller. Aquarium caretaker… and that’s just scratching the surface of Miss Rabbit’s CV. Her tax return must read like The Yellow Pages.
Miss Rabbit’s myriad of jobs are one of Peppa Pig’s longest-standing in-jokes. She was eventually rewarded for all her hard work by the Queen, though Her Maj had to make the day a national holiday so Miss Rabbit could take the time off to collect her award in front of her friends. Of course, Miss Rabbit drove the minibus to Buckingham Palace too. Miss Rabbit is basically exhausted. In contrast, Miss Rabbit’s sister Mummy Rabbit is a stay-at-home mum to Peppa and George’s pals Rebecca and Richard Rabbit. Mummy Rabbit seems quite happy. Hmmm.
The hills have sties
Why does everyone in Peppa’s town live on top of hills? Is it, as the programme-makers say, because it suggests a child's self-centred perspective of her own little world? Or is it because of terrible flooding as a result of an ecological disaster that saw off humanity and now plagues the mutant-mammal civilisations of the future?
Certainly the episode 'The Biggest Muddy Puddle In The World' suggests that Peppa’s town is prone to flooding, turning everyone's hills into little islands and giving Grandpa Pig a good excuse to get his little boat out to pick-up supplies for everyone. Obviously Miss Rabbit somehow still makes it to her shift at the supermarket.
They are family…
Peppa Pig comes in for a lot of stick for teaching kids sick liberal values like being nice to each other and not being prejudiced. But the residents of Peppa’s town don’t seem to practise what they preach. A quick gander at the parents of Peppa and her playgroup friends – Pedro Pony, Danny Dog, Emily Elephant, Rebecca Rabbit, Suzy Sheep, Zoe Zebra – reveal a total absence of multi-species families.
But it gets worse. There doesn’t seem to be any other adult pigs in town beyond Daddy, Mummy, Uncle, Auntie, Granny and Grandpa Pig. Where did they all come from?
Find Peppasodes of Peppa Pig in On Demand > Kids