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.

Netflix Promises That The Office Isn't Going Anywhere, Despite Reports to the Contrary

NBCUniversal, Inc.
NBCUniversal, Inc.

With all of the streaming sites available, deciding which one to choose can sometimes be just as difficult as figuring out what to watch once you get there. But one thing is certain: For Netflix users, The Office never fails. Which explains why Dunder Mifflin devotees panicked when they heard that the NBC series would be leaving the streaming giant's library. Fortunately, Netflix quickly took to Twitter to reassure fans that the Steve Carell-starring comedy isn’t going anywhere ... until at least 2021.

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that NBCUniversal might want to take back its rights to The Office in order to put the series on their own streaming site, which is not yet live. This, of course, sent fans into a frenzy. Many took to social media to share how upset they were that their favorite workplace comedy might be disappearing. (A similar situation happened with Friends, another one of Netflix's most popular shows, back in December.)

Although The Office aficionados can breathe a sigh of relief—at least for now—Marvel fans haven't been so lucky. Disney has started to remove its movies along with Netflix’s Marvel shows like The Punisher and Daredevil. The new streaming service Disney+ will drop in November and will feature Marvel films, as well as original series—plus the entire Star Wars franchise.

With all the changes, it’s not difficult to become paranoid that your favorite show might be taken off your preferred streaming service. Better to binge what you can now while it’s still available.

16 Jaw-Dropping Facts About Cirque du Soleil

Hannah Peters, Getty Images
Hannah Peters, Getty Images

Since its founding in 1984, the contemporary circus Cirque du Soleil has performed for more than 180 million people in 450 cities on every continent but Antarctica. In other words: There’s probably a Cirque show near you right now … or there will be soon.

For the uninitiated, Cirque du Soleil—which celebrates its 35th anniversary in July 2019—features a mix of circus acts, street performance, unparalleled acrobatic feats and the avant-garde. And no matter the show’s theme, technology always plays a role—the Montreal-based company, now one of the largest live theatrical companies in business, consistently ups its game with state-of-the-art stages, special effects and world-class stunts. Read on to learn even more jaw-dropping facts about Cirque du Soleil.

  1. Cirque du Soleil began as a troupe of 20 street performers.

Cirque du Soleil has its roots in Les Échassiers de Baie-Saint-Paul (the Baie-Saint-Paul Stiltwalkers), a group that performed acts like fire-breathing and juggling on the streets of Baie-Saint-Paul in Quebec, Canada, in the early 1980s. One of the troupe's members was Guy Laliberté, who eschewed a college education to join the group; in 1984, he presented a proposal to the Canadian government for a company of performers that would tour across the country to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Jacques Cartier's discovery of Canada. Laliberté landed a $1 million contract to make the proposal a reality, which led to the incorporation of the group as a non-profit under the name Cirque du Soleil.

  1. The name Cirque du Soleil means "Circus of the Sun."

"When I need to take time to reenergize, I go somewhere by the ocean to sit back and watch the sunsets. That is where the idea of 'Soleil' came from, on a beach in Hawaii, and because the Sun is the symbol of youth and energy," Laliberté explained to Fortune in 2011.

  1. Las Vegas has six permanent Cirque du Soleil shows.

Cirque du Soleil's first show had 10 acts and hit 15 cities in Quebec. Now, there are 23 Cirque du Soleil shows worldwide, including six permanent shows in Las Vegas and 12 that are on tour. Though it's hard to determine the most popular show, Cirque du Soleil calls Alegría—which ran from 1994 to 2013 before being "reinterpreted in a renewed version" in 2019—one of its “most beloved shows,” with 6600 performances for more than 14 million audience members around the world. That’s a lot of tickets.

  1. Mystère is the longest-running Cirque du Soleil show.

Cirque’s first permanent show in Las Vegas, Mystère has also been on stage the longest of all Cirque productions. This lighthearted, family-friendly show opened in 1993 at Treasure Island and features a classic Cirque du Soleil mix of gymnastics and trapeze.

  1. Cirque du Soleil shows are incredibly expensive to produce.

For example, —which premiered in 2005—cost at least $165 million to create, making it one of the most expensive theatrical productions in history (to compare, the Spider-Man musical, Broadway’s most expensive show, had cost estimates about half that). Much of the budget was for technical feats, including a battle scene featuring acrobats on wires fighting vertically. Sadly, it was during the battle sequence that aerialist Sarah Guillot-Guyard died in 2013. It was Cirque du Soleil’s first onstage fatality.

  1. There’s even a Cirque du Soleil show on ice.

Crystal, Cirque’s “first experience on ice,” premiered in December 2017 in Quebec City and Montreal. It’s basically the choreographed stunts you’d expect from Cirque du Soleil but everybody’s on skates.

  1. Many Cirque du Soleil casts include former Olympians.

Cirque du Soleil employs 1300 performers from 50 different countries, and Cirque says about 40 percent of its artists come from disciplines like rhythmic gymnastics and diving. To that end, in 2016, Cirque had 22 Olympians (including two medalists) on stage in a variety of roles, from high-flying trampoline acts to synchronized swimmers. That’s not to mention the many performers who are recruited from national gymnastics teams.

  1. Cirque du Soleil cast members train extensively.

Before being cast in a specific show, prospective performers attend artistic and acrobatic training at Cirque du Soleil’s international headquarters in Montreal. Depending on the show and the role, cast members then do daily training and warm-ups, sometimes lasting more than 90 minutes, along with regular rehearsals. The daily work-outs can include weight lifting, stretching, handstands, pull-ups, sit-ups, and rope work.

  1. The kitchens on Cirque du Soleil tours use up to 3000 pounds of food a week.

Traveling Cirque shows have a team of around five chefs who pump out meals for cast and crew each day. Menus change daily and incorporate local specialties in whatever city the show lands (think: bison in Denver; étouffée in Louisiana). In a 2017 interview, Cirque kitchen manager Paola Muller said that the kitchen can run through 2000 to 3000 pounds of food a week. A 2016 Thrillist article notes that 90 to 100 pounds of protein are served at each meal, and there’s a salad bar with 22 ingredients.

  1. Cirque du Soleil takes safety seriously—but the stunts are still dangerous.

Cirque du Soleil cast members pull off dangerous stunts on the regular. But even with stringent safety systems in place (some performers have called them “annoying”), injuries and accidents happen. According to Vanity Fair there were 53 injuries at the permanent Las Vegas shows in 2012, and in 2018, an aerialist was killed in Florida during a performance of Volta.

  1. Princess Diana was an early fan of Cirque du Soleil.

She took Princes Harry and William to an early performance by the group in 1990. In early 2019, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, attended a Cirque du Soleil charity performance; the duchess wore one of Diana's bracelets and a dress inspired by one of her late mother-in-law's looks.

  1. Cirque du Soleil has an outreach program based on the “social circus.”

Established in 1995, Cirque du Monde supports the philosophy that circus arts can be used as interventions for at-risk youth, creating confidence and community for kids who need it. This idea is referred to as “the social circus”; this and other global citizen campaigns have reached 100,000 kids in 50 countries.

  1. Some costume pieces in Cirque du Soleil's O are made out of shower curtains.

The costumes for all Cirque shows are unique in that they have to be not only stunning but also athletically practical and safe. Cirque’s Montreal Costume Workshop employs 300 full-time artisans, including shoemakers, milliners, and textile designers.

Each costume’s evolution requires a lot of ingenuity—and trial and error. Take, for instance, Cirque’s water show, O, in Las Vegas. Some costume pieces are made out of shower curtains, pipe cleaners, or bits of foam to make them float in the water. The wardrobe staff here does 60 loads of laundry a night to keep the 4800 costumes and accessories clean, and there’s a totally separate room dedicated to drying, complete with specialized heaters.

  1. Luzia is the first Cirque show in Spanish.

Although Cirque du Soleil shows don’t regularly rely on speaking parts (that’s what the mimes are for!), Luzia is the first show to be entirely en Español. Luzia’s title combines two Spanish words—luz for “light” and lluvia for “rain”—and features a state-of-the-art rain curtain and revolving stage.

  1. You can experience Cirque du Soleil in VR.

A natural extension of the Cirque experience? Virtual reality. In 2018, MK2, a Paris-based company specializing in VR cinemas, acquired distribution rights to four Cirque shows, co-produced by Canada’s Felix & Paul. Now, you can experience moments from , Kurios, Luzia, and O on Google Daydream, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and more.

  1. Cirque du Soleil's The Beatles LOVE has been onstage longer than the Beatles.

Cirque’s Beatles show, LOVE, has been on stage since 2006. The Beatles were together for around a decade, from 1960 (or '62, if you're going by when Ringo Starr joined, and when they released their first single) to 1970. LOVE remains a stalwart of the Cirque canon, regularly selling about 75 to 90 percent theater capacity, and is at the top of many Vegas “must dos.”

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