It now appears that Peppa Pig may not be safe from ABC budget cuts, according to the Senate estimates hearings today. The Federal Budget has trimmed the ABC’s funding by 1 per cent over the next four years.
ABC managing director Mark Scott was quizzed about the future of the program. According to ABC publicity, it is the most viewed program on iView, played more than 2 million times every month and is among the top five most popular children’s shows on ABC2.
Labor senator Louise Pratt asked if “Peppa Pig is safe from cuts, particularly from conservatives concerned about her dangerous feminist ideology?”
In a piece criticising the ABC’s “left-wing agenda” last year, Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman wrote: “Even the cartoon character Peppa Pig pushes a weird feminist line that would be closer to the hearts of Labor’s Handbag Hit Squad than the pre-school audience it is aimed at.”
Peppa Pig is one of the ABC’s most popular shows and today Senator Pratt asked Mr Scott: “Is Peppa safe?” The ABC boss gave no guarantees.
“We have contracts to continue to deliver Peppa Pig, but of course the service we provide depends on the funding envelope provided,” he told the committee.
Nationals Senator John Williams revealed he was not familiar with the show but rejected an offer from Mr Scott to send him DVDs for his “edification and education”. “My brother and I are former pig farmers. I’ve seen enough of pigs and smelled enough in my life over many decades I can assure you,” he told Mr Scott.
Government frontbencher Barnaby Joyce also had no idea about the show.”Last time I had Peppa Pig it was number 23 at my local Thai restaurant,” he laughed when asked about the show at a press conference.
As a result of the Government’s budget measures, the ABC will have to find savings of $35.5 million over four years.