Peppa Pig set for more than 100 new episodes as eOne shareholders rejoice and parents despair

The show’s porcine star has also secured new licensing partners and is rapidly taking over the pre-school world. ITV might just have missed a trick when it failed to buy the distributor 

James Moore
Chief Business Commentator
Friday 19 May 2017 12:40 BST
Peppa Pig with her golden boots. Entertainment One can surely afford to pay for them
Peppa Pig with her golden boots. Entertainment One can surely afford to pay for them

“Nooooo! Have mercy!”

That was probably the reaction from more than a few parents with pre-school children to the news that 117 new episodes of Peppa Pig are on the way.

Yes, you read that right: 117 new episodes. They will bring the total to 381, guaranteeing even more parental angst when the porcine cash cow and her animal chums are onscreen.

And they will be onscreen somewhere. They are jumping in muddy puddles right now. The existing episodes are on permanent rotation.

Wouldn’t you really rather watch Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom? That’s one we occasionally tried. It worked about as well as handing our daughter a book on quantum theory.

Ben & Holly is another property distributed by Entertainment One (which also has a stake in the producer). It’s an animated show that can be slyly funny. There’s a nod and a wink there for the adults watching alongside their children. But given the choice, most go for Peppa.

To be fair, parents can easily forget that they were probably no different. At a slightly older age, my brother and I would regularly switch over to the once-controversial Tiswas when our parents would have rather we watched nice Noel Edmonds and his Multi-Coloured Swap Shop.

Every few years another example comes along.

As for Peppa, she’s managed to crack the US market, which is one of 180 territories in which her exploits are shown. She has her own theme park. She’s found her way into cinemas with longer form shows marketed as “your child’s first cinematic experience”. There are toys. There are games. There are apps. And more besides.

She’s even had the Daily Mail take shots at her for (allegedly) making children behave badly.

Why can’t Peppa be nicer? More like Thomas the Tank Engine?

Peppa’s stroppy. Her mum is moody. Her dad is basically a bit useless, and her grandparents (especially grandpa pig) are overbearing and annoying. Even sweet little George Pig has his moments!

You know you’ve got it made when the Mail says that.

Like it or not, Peppa Pig is a bona fide cultural icon, and perhaps it's partly because it isn’t so much that she influences children as she is influenced by them. She speaks and acts like real ones, and reflects their shared experiences, albeit in a sepia-tinted manner with everyone rolling around in the mud and laughing at the end of it.

You have to credit the writers. It’s some achievement to come up with as many variations on the theme as they have. They'll probably be asked for even more when the next hundred and whatever are done.

Credit to eOne for the way it has marketed and exploited its prize property. You have to wonder whether ITV didn’t miss a trick when it failed to seal a deal to buy the smaller company a while back.

Price was the issue. But while it might have proved steep, Peppa would have brought with her something that ITV doesn’t have: a guaranteed future.

Because, parents despair, she’s going to be with us for the foreseeable. I wouldn’t bank on there being a repeat of her earlier two-year hiatus any time soon. If you feel like the Mail, you could always just switch off, but what about when your little darlings are at their friends?

Get with the programme because, one way or another, the mud’s going to cover you.

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