The Unusual Reason Australia Banned A Peppa Pig Episode About Spiders

Peppa Pig, the long-running British children's animated TV series that depicts a family of anthropomorphic pigs and their animal friends, first launched in 2004. Since then, it's become a hit all over the world, known for adorable animation, family-friendly storylines, educational themes, and lighthearted comedy. Generally speaking, few things are less controversial than this preschool juggernaut that many parents also enjoy. Nevertheless, one Peppa Pig episode did get banned in Australia, per CBR.

Choose any installment of Peppa Pig and it's easy to see why the show is so popular. It's bright and colorful, and each character in the show is relatable. Peppa Pig herself is precocious beyond her years, and that offers an additional reason for young children to admire her. It's hard to imagine why any parent would take exception to the content, but an episode did get pulled off the air in Australia (not once but twice), and it isn't even available online. This happened for no reason other than the relatively innocuous thing one character said, which could have deadly consequences, as The Telegraph reports.

Peppa is afraid of spiders

The controversial episode of Peppa Pig is called "Mr Skinny Legs" and it comes from the very first season of the show. In it, Peppa is dealing with a very common anxiety for young children: fear of spiders, sometimes called arachnophobia. In the episode, Daddy Pig, voiced by Richard Ridings, does what any father would do (via IMDb). He soothes his worried young daughter, played by Lily Snowden-Fine, telling her "Spiders can't hurt you." Later on in the show, Peppa exclaims, "We are all going to have tea with Mister Skinny Legs," via The Week.

And what's wrong with any of that? There are plenty of spiders in the U.K., where Peppa Pig is produced, but though some may bite humans none are particularly dangerous, as Wales Online reports. With this in mind, Daddy Pig's wisdom imparted in "Mr Skinny Legs" seems sensible enough. The episode's premise gets controversial for some Australian viewers, however, because the spider situation down under is actually pretty dangerous.

Australia is full of venomous spiders

Unlike the U.K., Australia is full of venomous spiders, as Australian Geographic reports. Some of the most dangerous types found in Australia include the redback spider, the funnel-web spider, the white-tailed spider and wolf-spider, per The Guardian. More than 12,000 people in Australia were hospitalized after a bite in the years spanning roughly 2001 through 2013, via ABC. Even though only one person has died from an Australian spider bite in roughly three decades, according to The Week, some Peppa Pig viewers felt it was irresponsible to tell kids that spiders are no big deal. Therefore, the episode was banned.

The episode "Mr Skinny Legs" was pulled from the air by the Australian Broadcasting Company, deemed "inappropriate for Australian audiences" (via The Week). The episode found its way back online, but it was taken down there too after parents complained. Nick Jr., a cable channel, even tried to air the episode, but also received pushback, to which the network responded, "The context of the way the spider is portrayed in the episode lessens any impact of scariness or danger; the spider does not look real, it has a smiley face and is shown in context of a show with other talking animals" via The Week.