21/11/2014 11:42 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Peppa Pig: 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Popular Children's TV Character


Peppa Pig has become one of the richest children's TV characters of all time, raking in £640 million this year from TV rights and spin-off merchandise.

Peppa's five-minute cartoons are now shown in 180 countries and translated into 40 languages, bringing in revenue of £640 million ($1 billion) – a huge leap up from its £100m haul in 2009.

The increase is down to Entertainment One, the company that licenses Peppa, winning nearly 200 new broadcasting and licensing deals in the past six months alone.

So how did Peppa and her pals become such a phenomenon? Here's the low-down on our children's favourite pig.

1. Peppa was dreamed up in 2000 by three friends who who met at Middlesex Polytechnic in the 1980s - who are now all millionaires.

Out-of-work animators Neville Astley and Mark Baker teamed up with producer Phil Davies to create a children's character and get it commissioned – though at first no-one was interested.

Neville, 57, told the Mirror: "We had to spend a lot to make Peppa plausible as an idea. We survived by raiding our savings. It got to the stage where we almost had to split up and go and earn money."

2. The first episode aired on Channel 5 in May 2004.

3. Phil only earned £400 in the first 12 months.

4. One episode of the show featured Peppa sporting a pair of fairy wings and a real-life version was in the shops in time for Christmas of the same year.

5. Dad-of-two Phil revealed in the interview that his own family provides inspiration for some storylines.

He said: "There are episodes completely based on family experiences, either from my childhood or through having children.

"One was based on me and my sister trying to sell our old toys outside our house when we were kids to raise money to buy sweets."

6. Peppa Pig is now made by a 30-strong team at the Elf Factory - the London HQ - along with the trio's more recent show, Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom.

7. More than 200 episodes have been made along with more than 12,000 branded products.

8. Peppa has cracked America and an exclusive licensing deal with toy giant Fisher Price put Peppa products exclusively in US Toys R Us stores. When that expires a new deal with Jazwares will land Peppa sold in 4,200 Walmart stores.

9. An Italian woman called Gabriella Capra is suing the show for £80,000. The show's Gabriella Goat character is called Capra (Italian for goat) in their version and she says she has never lived it down since the goat bleated (in Italian) "Hello. I am Gabriella Capra. Baaa."

10. The creators turned down an invitation from the Labour Party to get involved before the last general election.

You can read Phil's full interview in the Mirror.

More on Parentdish:

Irritating kids' TV characters

Don't blame Peppa Pig for children's bad behaviour - blame their wishy-washy parents​

Rude Peppa Pig biscuits are definitely not suitable for kids