In Brief

Peppa Pig episode banned in Australia due to ‘spiders can’t hurt you’ message

The episode aired on pay TV despite being deemed inappropriate for audiences in Australia, home to many dangerous spiders

Peppa Pig

An episode of the children’s cartoon Peppa Pig has been banned in Australia after the message “spiders can't hurt you” was deemed inappropriate for Aussie audiences.

The episode, Mister Skinny Legs, written by Alison Snowden, is about a large spider “which an initially fearful Peppa befriends, before picking the giggling arachnid up, feeding him tea and cake and tucking him into bed in her doll house”, says the Daily Telegraph.

The cartoon show ends with Peppa declaring: “We are all going to have tea with Mister Skinny Legs”.

During the episode Peppa’s father tells her: “There’s no need to be afraid. Spiders are very, very small and they can’t hurt you.”

This advice from the British show was deemed to be “inappropriate for Australian audiences” and the Australian Broadcasting Company banned it from future broadcast.

Despite the ban, the episode was accidentally published online before being aired again on Nickelodeon channel Nick Jr on August 25 this year.

According to Australian website Essential Baby, a Sydney mother watching Peppa Pig with her daughter  switched the episode off and complained to pay TV provider Foxtel about the programme.

Nick Jr originally defended the decision to air the episode, saying the episode is “light-hearted, friendly and very mild in impact”.

“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,” it said.

But after being contacted by Australian media, Nick Jr said it would remove the episode from programming rotation, despite continuing to maintain that it “does meet our criteria” for broadcast.

“Not all Australian spiders are 'very, very small' and some can hurt you,” warns The Guardian. In fact, Australia is home to some of the most venomous spiders in the world, including the redback and wolf spider.

According to the Australian Museum, around 2,000 people are bitten each year by red back spiders, but fatalities are extremely rare.

A man reportedly died from a redback spider bite in April last year in “the first fatality from a spider bite in more than 30 years”, says the Evening Standard.

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