1 Episode of ‘Peppa Pig’ Is Banned in Australia for Its Pro-Spider Take

If you’re the parent of a young child or have been one in the past 10 to 15 years, you’re likely familiar with the British animated TV show Peppa Pig. Airing in five-minute episodes, the series follows the life of an anthropomorphic pig who talks and acts like a 4-year-old.

Most little kids, including Princess Charlotte, love the program. It’s innocent and mindful of its audience’s young age. But that didn’t stop Australia from banning one episode.

Who is Peppa Pig?

A child watches 'Peppa Pig' on an iPad tablet while lying on a sofa at home
‘Peppa Pig’ on an iPad tablet | Artur Debat / Contributor via Getty Images

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Few parents of young children aren’t familiar with the character Peppa Pig. She stars in her eponymous animated show. It debuted in 2004 and quickly became a hit with the 4-and-under crowd.

According to ExpressPeppa Pig still airs in 180 countries. And Romper reports that the show is so popular with little kids that parents have noticed their young fans sometimes mimic Peppa’s British accent.

The character is so beloved that she has spawned Peppa Pig clothes, books, a music album, and even a theme park.

Understanding Peppa Pig’s popularity

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Kids worldwide love Peppa Pig, and some parents would like to know what preschool-aged children find so compelling about the series.

There are a few theories as to why kids love it so much. One is that because most children adore animals, they’re drawn to the show’s cute characters. Little viewers can also relate to the series’ family/friend-like relationship because they’ve experienced it in their own homes. This familiarity helps youngsters connect with the character in a way they don’t with other cartoons. 

Scientists and child research experts also think the writing and animation — using shapes, colors, and familiar lines/stories/songs — also appeal to youngsters.

“Since a child’s brain is rapidly developing, they tend to be drawn to simple shapes early on,” child wellness expert Maureen Healy told Romper. “As they grow and develop cognitively, they can begin processing more complexities, including shapes, sounds, and other input.” 

Peppa Pig is a sassy, smart character who helps young children learn important life lessons. That’s why it’s shocking to learn Australia no longer airs one episode.

Australia outlawed this spider-centric episode

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The banned Peppa Pig episode is “Mr. Skinny Legs.” It deals with Peppa’s arachnophobia,  The Evening Standard explains. To help Peppa overcome her fear, her father tells her: “Spiders can’t hurt you.” The episode ends with Peppa having tea with the spider.

This all seems benign, but parents in Australia grew concerned the episode would encourage young viewers to play with and handle spiders. The U.K. has few dangerous spiders, but things are different down under, home to more than 10 venomous species.

The good news is that fatal spider bites are a rarity there. Australian Geographic reported that since 1981, only one reported fatality was directly linked to a spider bite. According to The Guardian, a redback spider bit the individual in 2016. He was hospitalized and treated once the bite turned into an abscess, but the infection eventually killed him.

Dr. Geoff Isbister, a researcher at the University of Newcastle, isn’t overly concerned about people dying from spider bites. 

“There are more deaths from allergic reactions to bees,” he told Australian Geographic. “While we all still happily get in our cars (about 1,000 people die each year in car crashes), then we can’t really worry about spiders.”

The article also discussed how antivenom has significantly reduced the number of fatalities connected to spider bites.

Though fatal spider bites are uncommon, Travel Earth reported there are at least 10 species of venomous spiders in Australia, including a few whose bites could kill a child.

So it’s easy to understand why parents weren’t crazy about a Peppa Pig episode encouraging kids to make friends with spiders.