Watch CBS News

Inside the world of Peppa Pig and why it is a global phenomenon: "It makes people happy"

Inside the life of Peppa Pig
The unlikely origins of Peppa Pig 05:34

Peppa Pig needs no introduction. The cartoon show started off small, 17 years ago, on British TV, but transformed into a global phenomenon. Peppa Pig is watched in 180 countries and 40 languages.

The cartoon was recently sold in a $4 billion deal to U.S. toy giant Hasbro. Peppa Pig has even caught the eye of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton appeared on The Graham Norton Show in November 2019 and gushed about Peppa when she met one of the series' voice actors.

Peppa also has her own theme park in Britain, with another one scheduled to open in the United States. The Peppa Pig Theme Park will open in 2022 in Winter Haven, Florida. A third theme park is planned in China.

Some American parents have claimed on social media that their toddlers developed British accents after watching the series. 

"She's a very English pig, and a lot of the storylines are quite English. Why does that translate around the world?" CBS News' Holly Williams asked.

"We're talking about very human emotions and feelings. So the dynamics resonate internationally with any family," animation director Andrea Tran said.

Peppa Pig storylines are simpler than many other children's cartoons – but a single episode can take months to craft.

"We actually kind of create a flow of logic that is very easy to follow for a 4-year-old," Tran said.

The series has no conflict and doesn't feature any villains or evil characters. "Nothing's ever allowed to get to a point of real conflict, which is part of the simplicity of the storytelling, making sure that we're not overcomplicating the stories, really, so that we can stay that pure and in the moment," Peppa Pig producer Jamie Badminton said. 

Some of Peppa's anthropomorphic friends are voiced by illustrious British actors. Brian Blessed is an acclaimed Shakespearian performer with a famously loud voice who plays Grampy Rabbit, a fitness-obsessed senior citizen. 

"It does embrace happiness. It has many levels, but it brings joy. It makes people happy," said Blessed of the show.

But even Peppa Pig has experienced controversy. One episode was pulled off screens in Australia, and some say Daddy Pig, a character in the show, had been fat-shamed in the series. There were also claims that the cartoon reinforces gender stereotypes. 

But Badminton said from the very beginning the 4-year-old pig has been ahead of her time.

"She was a female role model, which was actually very rare at the time. It was very much speaking to kids on their wavelength at that time in a way that other shows weren't," he said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.