14 Surprising Facts About Peppa Pig

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

From a nugget of an idea to a $1 billion empire, it's been 15 years since Peppa Pig was first brought to life. Here are some facts to celebrate.

1. Peppa was created by three out-of-work friends.

The idea for Peppa Pig came to Neville Astley and Mark Baker in 2000. The pair were animators, but without work. Or money. So they enlisted the help of producer Phil Davies, and the three had to borrow money from friends and family to make Peppa happen, given how short on funds they were.

2. For the BBC, Peppa Pig is the one that got away.

The trio founded Astley Baker Davies and were originally working on a different show for the BBC. But when scheduling issues arose, they instead took Peppa Pig to Channel 5 in the UK, and Nick Jr. in the U.S.

3. It was an instant hit.

Some shows take their time to find their feet, but not Peppa Pig. Instead, 12 months after its first episode aired in May 2004, the show had won a BAFTA and earned more than $1.5 million in merchandise sales.

4. Peppa has been voiced by three different people.

Since Peppa Pig first debuted in 2004, three people have voiced the title character. Child voice-actors Lily Snowden-Fine (season 1), Cecily Bloom (season 2), and Harley Bird (beginning in season 3) have all contributed to the show. In 2011, when she was just nine years old, Bird won a BAFTA for the role, making her the youngest performer ever to earn the honor.

5. Early scenes of the show have been re-edited.

George Lucas isn't the only filmmaker who tinkers with his work once it's released. In seasons 1 and 2 of Peppa Pig, when the family went on a drive, they weren't originally wearing seatbelts. This led to complaints from concerned parents, and so the relevant episodes have since been re-edited. Fresh edits have also taken place to add helmets to scenes where characters go bicycling.

6. Peppa has gone global.

Though Peppa began her adventures in the UK, she is now a big deal worldwide. Peppa Pig is seen in more than 200 countries worldwide and is believed to be worth over $1 billion in sales worldwide, a number that is expected to double by 2020.

7. Peppa is not into politics.

During the UK's 2010 general election, Britain's Labour Party invited the "megastar of children's television" to attend an event announcing family policies, but Peppa passed on the opportunity in order to appear politically neutral (or, more accurately, so that the show's distributor could avoid any controversy). Still, that didn't stop some members of the public from making assumptions about the 5-year-old pig's political leanings. (Specifically: that "she is unquestionably from a long line of well-bred, well-fed Conservatives.")

8. One episode of Peppa Pig was banned in Australia.

The episode "Mister Skinnylegs" features the perennially useless Daddy Pig talking about how spiders can't really hurt you. This is contrary to advice in Australia, however, where fear of deaths from spider bites mean children aren't exactly encouraged to make chums with the eight-legged arachnids. ABC in Australia thus deemed the episode "unsuitable for broadcast."

9. Miss Rabbit does so many jobs, she received an award from the Queen.

One of the running jokes in Peppa Pig is the range of jobs Miss Rabbit takes on. Nurse, fire fighter, helicopter pilot, librarian, bus driver … you name it. In season 4 of the show—and the subsequent book tie-in—Miss Rabbit wins the Queen's award for industry. The downside? A national holiday had to be declared so she actually had the time to collect her prize. The episode and book were created in order to get children to participate in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, and Queen Elizabeth herself is said to be a fan of the series, which she watches with her grandchildren.

10. There are two Peppa Pig theme parks.

Peppa Pig World is a theme park within a theme park. It's found at Paultons Family Theme Park in Hampshire, England and features seven kiddie rides with all of the popular characters. In 2018, a second park—Peppa Pig Land—opened at Italy's Gardaland Resort.

11. A woman named Gabriella Capra is decidedly not a fan.

Speaking of Italy: In Italian, the word capra means "goat." In 2014, a 40-year-old Italian woman by the name of Gabriella Capra decided she couldn't handle the ribbing from her friends and coworkers based on the similarities between her name and Peppa Pig's friend, Gabriella Goat, and sued Peppa's creators for roughly $125,000

12. A film was released in British cinemas, but not a proper one.

In February 2015, what looked like the first Peppa Pig movie, The Golden Boots, was released in UK cinemas. However, it wasn't a full-length feature. The release included a new 15-minute Peppa adventure and five favorite existing episodes, and it grossed just over $1 million.

13. Peppa has been hacked.

Parents were outraged when hackers targeted the Facebook page of Peppa Pig World back in 2013, posting messages like "go to hell." The page was flooded with spam pictures and messages and eventually had to be taken down.

14. Peppa has appeared on British stamps.

In 2014, Peppa got the ultimate seal of approval when the British Royal Mail announced that some of the public's favorite children's TV characters would appear on official UK postage stamps. So, sitting alongside Bob The Builder and Paddington Bear, there was Peppa herself, jumping in one of her trademark muddy puddles.

Amazon’s Big Fall Sale Features Deals on Electronics, Kitchen Appliances, and Home Décor

Dash/Keurig
Dash/Keurig

If you're looking for deals on items like Keurigs, BISSELL vacuums, and essential oil diffusers, it's usually pretty slim pickings until the holiday sales roll around. Thankfully, Amazon is starting these deals a little earlier with their Big Fall Sale, where customers can get up to 20 percent off everything from home decor to WFH essentials and kitchen gadgets. Now you won’t have to wait until Black Friday for the deal you need. Make sure to see all the deals that the sale has to offer here and check out our favorites below.

Electronics

Dash/Amazon

- BISSELL Lightweight Upright Vacuum Cleaner $170 (save $60)

- Dash Deluxe Air Fryer $80 (save $20)

- Dash Rapid 6-Egg Cooker $17 (save $3)

- Keurig K-Café Single Coffee Maker $169 (save $30)

- COMFEE Toaster Oven $29 (save $9)

- AmazonBasics 1500W Oscillating Ceramic Heater $31 (save $4)

Home office Essentials

HP/Amazon

- HP Neverstop Laser Printer $250 (save $30)

- HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner $274 (save $25)

- HP Printer Paper (500 Sheets) $5 (save $2)

- Mead Composition Books Pack of 5 Ruled Notebooks $11 (save $2)

- Swingline Desktop Hole Punch $7 (save $17)

- Officemate OIC Achieva Side Load Letter Tray $15 (save $7)

- PILOT G2 Premium Rolling Ball Gel Pens 12-Pack $10 (save $3)

Toys and games

Selieve/Amazon

- Selieve Toys Old Children's Walkie Talkies $17 (save $7)

- Yard Games Giant Tumbling Timbers $59 (save $21)

- Duckura Jump Rocket Launchers $11 (save $17)

- EXERCISE N PLAY Automatic Launcher Baseball Bat $14 (save $29)

- Holy Stone HS165 GPS Drones with 2K HD Camera $95 (save $40)

Home Improvement

DEWALT/Amazon

- DEWALT 20V MAX LED Hand Held Work Light $54 (save $65)

- Duck EZ Packing Tape with Dispenser, 6 Rolls $11 (save $6)

- Bissell MultiClean Wet/Dry Garage Auto Vacuum $111 (save $39)

- Full Circle Sinksational Sink Strainer with Stopper $5 (save $2)

Home Décor

NECA/Amazon

- A Christmas Story 20-Inch Leg Lamp Prop Replica by NECA $41 save $5

- SYLVANIA 100 LED Warm White Mini Lights $8 (save 2)

- Yankee Candle Large Jar Candle Vanilla Cupcake $17 (save $12)

- Malden 8-Opening Matted Collage Picture Frame $20 (save $8)

- Lush Decor Blue and Gray Flower Curtains Pair $57 (save $55)

- LEVOIT Essential Oil Diffuser $25 (save $5)

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12 Surprising Facts About T.S. Eliot

Getty
Getty

Born September 26, 1888, modernist poet and playwright Thomas Stearns (T.S.) Eliot is best known for writing "The Waste Land." But the 1948 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature was also a prankster who coined a perennially popular curse word, and created the characters brought to life in the Broadway musical "Cats." In honor of Eliot’s birthday, here are a few things you might not know about the writer.

1. T.S. Eliot enjoyed holding down "real" jobs.

Throughout his life, Eliot supported himself by working as a teacher, banker, and editor. He could only write poetry in his spare time, but he preferred it that way. In a 1959 interview with The Paris Review, Eliot remarked that his banking and publishing jobs actually helped him be a better poet. “I feel quite sure that if I’d started by having independent means, if I hadn’t had to bother about earning a living and could have given all my time to poetry, it would have had a deadening influence on me,” Eliot said. “The danger, as a rule, of having nothing else to do is that one might write too much rather than concentrating and perfecting smaller amounts.”

2. One of the longest-running Broadway shows ever exists thanks to T.S. Eliot.

Getty Images

In 1939, Eliot published a book of poetry, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, which included feline-focused verses he likely wrote for his godson. In stark contrast to most of Eliot's other works—which are complex and frequently nihilistic—the poems here were decidedly playful. For Eliot, there was never any tension between those two modes: “One wants to keep one’s hand in, you know, in every type of poem, serious and frivolous and proper and improper. One doesn’t want to lose one’s skill,” he explained in his Paris Review interview. A fan of Eliot's Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats since childhood, in the late '70s, Andrew Lloyd Webber decided to set many of Eliot's poems to music. The result: the massively successful stage production "Cats," which opened in London in 1981 and, after its 1982 NYC debut, became one of the longest-running Broadway shows of all time.

3. Three hours per day was his T.S. Eliot’s writing limit.

Eliot wrote poems and plays partly on a typewriter and partly with pencil and paper. But no matter what method he used, he tried to always keep a three hour writing limit. “I sometimes found at first that I wanted to go on longer, but when I looked at the stuff the next day, what I’d done after the three hours were up was never satisfactory," he explained. "It’s much better to stop and think about something else quite different.”

4. T.S. Eliot considered "Four Quartets" to be his best work.

In 1927, Eliot converted to Anglicanism and became a British citizen. His poems and plays in the 1930s and 1940s—including "Ash Wednesday," "Murder in the Cathedral," and "Four Quartets"—reveal themes of religion, faith, and divinity. He considered "Four Quartets,” a set of four poems that explored philosophy and spirituality, to be his best writing. Out of the four, the last is his favorite.

5. T.S. Eliot had an epistolary friendship with Groucho Marx.

Eliot wrote comedian Groucho Marx a fan letter in 1961. Marx replied, gave Eliot a photo of himself, and started a correspondence with the poet. After writing back and forth for a few years, they met in real life in 1964, when Eliot hosted Marx and his wife for dinner at his London home. The two men, unfortunately, didn’t hit it off. The main issue, according to a letter Marx wrote his brother: the comedian had hoped he was in for a "Literary Evening," and tried to discuss King Lear. All Eliot wanted to talk about was Marx's 1933 comedy Duck Soup. (In a 2014 piece for The New Yorker, Lee Siegel suggests there had been "simmering tension" all along, even in their early correspondence.)

6. Ezra Pound tried to crowdfund T.S. Eliot’s writing.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1921, Eliot took a few months off from his banking job after a nervous breakdown. During this time, he finished writing "The Waste Land," which his friend and fellow poet Ezra Pound edited. Pound, with the help of other Bohemian writers, set up Bel Esprit, a fund to raise money for Eliot so he could quit his bank job to focus on writing full-time. Pound managed to get several subscribers to pledge money to Eliot, but Eliot didn’t want to give up his career, which he genuinely liked. The Liverpool Post, Chicago Daily Tribune, and the New York Tribune reported on Pound’s crowdfunding campaign, incorrectly stating that Eliot had taken the money, but continued working at the bank. After Eliot protested, the newspapers printed a retraction.

7. Writing in French helped T.S. Eliot overcome writer’s block.

After studying at Harvard, Eliot spent a year in Paris and fantasized about writing in French rather than English. Although little ever came of that fantasy, during a period of writer’s block, Eliot did manage to write a few poems in French. “That was a very curious thing which I can’t altogether explain. At that period I thought I’d dried up completely. I hadn’t written anything for some time and was rather desperate,” he told The Paris Review. “I started writing a few things in French and found I could, at that period ...Then I suddenly began writing in English again and lost all desire to go on with French. I think it was just something that helped me get started again."

8. T.S. Eliot set off stink bombs in London with his nephew.

Eliot, whose friends and family called him Tom, was supposedly a big prankster. When his nephew was young, Eliot took him to a joke shop in London to purchase stink bombs, which they promptly set off in the lobby of a nearby hotel. Eliot was also known to hand out exploding cigars, and put whoopee cushions on the chairs of his guests.

9. T.S. Eliot may have been the first person to write the word "bulls**t."

In the early 1910s, Eliot wrote a poem called "The Triumph of Bulls**t." Like an early 20th-century Taylor Swift tune, the poem was Eliot’s way of dissing his haters. In 1915, he submitted the poem to a London magazine … which rejected it for publication. The word bulls**t isn’t in the poem itself, only the poem’s title, but The Oxford English Dictionary credits the poem with being the first time the curse word ever appeared in print.

10. T.S. Eliot coined the expression “April is the cruelest month.”

Thanks to Eliot, the phrase “April is the cruelest month” has become an oft-quoted, well-known expression. It comes from the opening lines of "The Waste Land”: “April is the cruelest month, breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/Memory and desire, stirring/Dull roots with spring rain.”

11. T.S. Eliot held some troubling beliefs about religion.

Over the years, Eliot made some incredibly problematic remarks about Jewish people, including arguing that members of a society should have a shared religious background, and that a large number of Jews creates an undesirably heterogeneous culture. Many of his early writing also featured offensive portrayals of Jewish characters. (As one critic, Joseph Black, pointed out in a 2010 edition of "The Waste Land" and Other Poems, "Few published works displayed the consistency of association that one finds in Eliot's early poetry between what is Jewish and what is squalid and distasteful.") Eliot's defenders argue that the poet's relationship with Jewish people was much more nuanced that his early poems suggest, and point to his close relationships with a number of Jewish writers and artists.

12. You can watch a movie based on T.S. Eliot’s (really bad) marriage.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Tom & Viv, a 1994 film starring Willem Dafoe, explores Eliot’s tumultuous marriage to Vivienne Haigh-Wood, a dancer and socialite. The couple married in 1915, a few months after they met, but the relationship quickly soured. Haigh-Wood had constant physical ailments, mental health problems, and was addicted to ether. The couple spent a lot of time apart and separated in the 1930s; she died in a mental hospital in 1947. Eliot would go on to remarry at the age of 68—his 30-year-old secretary, Esmé Valerie Fletcher—and would later reveal that his state of despair during his first marriage was the catalyst and inspiration for "The Waste Land."

This story has been updated for 2020.