A global empire worth £1 billion, and it all began with a simple drawing of a playful little piglet.
But the creators of Peppa Pig admitted they were worried the idea would never get off the ground, and that people were initially bored of the idea.
Neville Astley and Mark Baker made their fortune thanks to young Peppa, whose children’s programme has since been broadcast in 180 territories and translated into 40 languages.
‘People in the pub would ask us, “What are you drawing?” We’d say, “A pig, called Peppa, it’s going to be big.” They’d lose interest and wander off’, explained Astley.
The pair created Peppa and her family working in each other’s houses or at the local pub.
They told the Radio Times they were inspired by 1970s cartoon classics including Roobarb and Pingu, after realising that children ‘like stories about animals’.
The beloved show has now been running for 15 years.
‘We’d made this little trailer for Peppa but hadn’t got anywhere,’ recalled Baker.
‘It’s very difficult to sell your own creative work. The good thing about Phil is he’s quite thick-skinned.’
They soon found an energetic little girl, Lily Snowden-Fine, to voice Peppa – despite her being only four years-old and unable to read, instead repeating lines spoken by her mother.
When her family moved to Canada, the job went to Cecily Bloom, followed by current incumbent Harley Bird.
The creators explained that the secret to Peppa’s long-lasting appeal is the show’s simplicity, as well as ensuring the piglet is never the butt of the jokes.
‘We put a lot of work into making everything look as effortless as possible, said Baker.
‘We can laugh at the adults, but children don’t like it if we laugh at the children in the show.’
Miss Bird, who has voiced Peppa since series three, and won a Bafta for the role at just nine years-old.
It has even spawned two theme parks, Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park near Southampton, and Peppa Pig Land at Gardaland Park in Italy.