The creators of Peppa Pig and Thomas & Friends have hit the headlines for introducing some new, relatable characters to their programmes, and here at Parenthood we couldn’t be happier.
In an episode titled Families, Penny Polar Bear introduces her two mums to Peppa Pig while sketching a family portrait. “I’m Penny Polar Bear. I live with my mummy and my other mummy” she tells Peppa, Suzi Sheep and Danny Dog.
Peppa Pig has long been a pig that parents either love to love or hate to hate – there has been a lot of gender stereotyping and ‘fat shaming’ of Daddy Pig, and many parents have banned their kids from watching the show.
After our co-founder, Kirsty’s TikTok on the subject went viral though, it seems that the majority of parents are very happy with the move to showcase what a modern family looks like, with one parent from the LGBTQIA+ parenting community commenting ” Some of y’all forget how left out kids of queer families feel. This is amazing, just adding the couple makes us feel normal.”
And that’s it. isn’t it? Whatever ‘normal’ is, kids want, and need, to feel they have characters that represent them, characters who they relate to, characters who make them feel ‘normal’, and perhaps for Peppa Pig, this is the start of more than just Cbeebies who are moving with times.
It comes after the news that Thomas and Friends has introduced it’s first autistic character. The show has vastly changed since it first hit the tv back in the 80’s. Many characters who we see today were not around when we were kids, and while Thomas and his friends have left Sodor Island and have travelled all around the world in more recent times, creating relatable characters is as important as teaching kids about the world in which they live in – after all, people make up part of that world.
The new character, Bruno, will be voiced by nine-year old autistic actor, Elliot Garcia, from Reading, who the National Autistic Society helped to cast.
A great move, as with 160,000 school-age autistic children here in the UK, seeing autistic characters on the tv, will help break down the stigmas attached to being autistic, give non autistic children some insight and understanding of what it is like to be autistic and importantly, give autistic children someone who they can relate to.
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