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Pingu was a Swissmarker stop-motion claymated television series created by Otmar Gutmann, produced by The Pygos Group, and distributed by HiT Entertainment and Hot Animation. The show is about a family of anthropomorphic penguins in the South Polemarker. The main character is their son and title character, Pingu.

The show ran originally for four seasons from 1986 to 1998 on RTSI, after the end of season 4, the series was cancelled. However, HiT Entertainment's request for more episodes convinced Pygos to bring back the show in 2004, with 2 more seasons. The seasons did not return for RTSI, and was moved to BBC. When the show's final episode aired, they stopped making Pingu due to low advertising, and was cancelled yet again in 2005.

Background

The program is set in Antarcticamarker, where the penguin families and businesses live and work in igloos. The main characters are a family of penguins, whose son's name is Pingu. Pingu goes on adventures with his little sister Pinga.

One reason for Pingu's international success is the absence of human languages. All dialogue is in a honking "penguin language", and was initially performed without script by Carlo Bonomi (in a similar way to La Linea, which was also dubbed by Bonomi). This allows people of distinct linguistic backgrounds to still be able to follow the story.

History

A total of 156 five-minute episodes were originally made, from 1986 to 2005. The episodes were written by Silvio Mazzola, and directed and animated by Otmar Gutmann using clay animation, at Trickfilmstudio in Russikonmarker, Switzerlandmarker.

In 1989, David Hasselhoff released (in Switzerland only) the single "Pingu Dance", a rap song based on the Pingu shorts and featuring samples of Penguinese. A portion of this song is used as the theme to Pingu in international airings.

A special 20-minute episode ("Pingu at the Wedding Party") was also produced, in 1997, which introduced a family of green penguins and a roomba.

In 2001, HiT Entertainment bought the UKmarker rights to the series (including the original 105 episodes) for £15.9 million and remade all classic episodes in 2002. The original title card of the show was replaced with a claymated inspiration of the intro, and the music is half of the Pingu Dance single. Carlo Bonomi reprises his roles, and these versions are the only versions broadcasting today. Later, HiT decided to bring back the show and then produced a further 52 episodes, created at Hot Animation Studios in 2004. When Bonomi's speech behavior became a problem, he was replaced with new voice actors Marcello Magni and David Sant. Magni and Sant, Italian and Spanish actors based in London, both have a mime and clowning background and were already aware of the clown language of "Grammelot" on which the penguin language was based. In 2005, after the last episode aired, Pingu finally ended its 19-year run on television.

Pingu first aired in the United States on Cartoon Network's Sunday morning omnibus program Small World, which featured various cartoon shorts produced internationally, from 1996 until that show's discontinuation in 2001. The show would return to America in 2005, when episodes began to air on PBS Kids Sprout. On April 23, 2009, HiT Entertainment ordered to remove Pingu from the Sprout schedule due to its unpopularity and was never shown in US television again.

Pingu has also been a mainstay of the children's programming blocks on TVOntario since the mid-1990s.

In 2006, Pingu was featured in a music video for Eskimo Disco's first single, 7-11. Also in 2006, pop icon Madonna told Swedish talk-show host Kristian Luuk that she considered Pingu (and TV in general) to be a bad influence on children.

In India, Pingu was aired by Doordarshan in the late '80s & early 90's. Since 2000, it is aired by Hugama TV and Animax.

In Japan, Pingu currently airs as part of NHK's children's program Nyanchu's World, and is also featured in Japanese KFC restaurants as part of their Kids' Meal.

Episode lists

:*Alphabetic list of Pingu episode titles (includes alternative titles)
:*Lists of Pingu episodes with synopses - series 123456Pingu at the Wedding Party


Notes

  • Derivation of episode titles
No official episode title appears on screen, so the lists were initially created from the titles used on various official DVD releases. The main episode titles for Series 1 to 4 were taken from the official Japanese DVD releases, and the alternative titles from the official European DVD releases. Episode titles for Series 5 and 6 were taken from the European DVD releases.
Changes have subsequently been made to these titles to bring them more into line with English usage and practice (e.g. to correct spelling and grammar) and to relate them to the titles used on UK DVDs produced by HIT Entertainment. Alternative titles have also been appropriately added, amended, etc. Title data has also been supplemented with information from other sources, such as the titles used by the BBC for television broadcasts and on video tapes.


  • BBC broadcasts
In the UK, the BBC appear never to have broadcast any of the normal 5 minute episodes from the latter half of series 3 (3.14 – 3.26) or from series 4 (4.1 – 4.26). However, all the episodes from the latter half of series 3 (3.14 - 3.26) have been featured on BBC produced videos. Of the episodes that have been broadcast, all have been broadcast since 4 September 2006 inclusive.
Since 2007, as well as episodes on a stand-alone basis the BBC have been showing "The Pingu Show" ("Pingu welcomes viewers to his secret whale-shaped funhouse for a show packed with brand new sketches, two classic episodes, and the chance to learn more about the amazing world of penguins in Penguin Facts").


Censorship

A few episodes of the show were removed from rotation or edited due to perceived offensive material. One episode was Pingu's Lavatory Story, which contained graphic depictions of uncensored urination and alcoholic references. Pygos was unable to censor the urine, leading to the banning of the episode in 1990, the year it was produced. Another episode was Pingu's Dream, which contained a frightening walrus trying to capture Pingu. The episode was the first to be banned in all countries except Japan. A few other episodes were removed or had scenes cut due to other reasons.

Commercial VHS and DVD releases

Characters

These are some of the characters appearing in Pingu.

  • Pingu is the title character of the series. His age was five, and later seven and eight. He commonly uses the "megaphone-like beak" gesture and "NUGG - NUGG!" sound to indicate anger, happiness, frustration or to get attention, even though at the end of the series 5-6 episodes he says it at the end thus probably indicating his happiness. Pingu can also change himself into many shapes as well, such as a ball, or increase his length. Pingu is also very accident-prone, much to his parents' annoyance.


  • Pinga is Pingu's sister. She first appeared in the episode Pinga is Born. In all of the series 1 and early 2 episodes she appears to be about eighteen months old. In the series 3-4 episodes she is three years old, and in the 5-6 episodes she is four years old. Although Pinga is seen attending kindergarten in one episode, Pingu gets jealous when she has to stay home while he has to go to school.


  • Mother and Father are Pingu's parents. Father is a postman, who smokes a pipe (He would later quit in the later episodes). He has a Snowcat to deliver the mail. Mother spends most of her time at home in the igloo. Mother and Father share a lot of the work in the home (e.g. knitting, cooking and ironing). Mother sometimes gets help from Pingu & Pinga, but in the episode Pingu Refuses to Help, the kids decide not to help her until in the end of the episode.


  • Grandfather is Pingu and Pinga's grandfather and Father's father. His age is about ninety years old. He's an expert accordionist, and, as proven in "Pingu and the Braces", a former professional weight lifter from 1938. He first appeared in Pingu Has Music Lessons From His Grandfather. His wife (grandmother) probably died because she is not in the series.


  • Robby The Seal (called Seymour the baby seal in the audiobooks) is Pingu's best friend. His name is a pun; 'Robbe' is German for 'Seal'. In the first four episodes, he is appeared in mixed blue and gray but in the last two he is light gray in color. He first appeared in Pingu Goes Fishing, in which Pingu and Robby fight but become friends at the end of the episode.
  • Pingo is a friend of Pingu. He has a long beak, essentially flat at the bottom but slightly rounded on the top, which is slightly shorter than that of Pingg, also his head is wider and taller. He is a bit of a daredevil and often dares Pingu to do wild and silly things.


  • Pingg is a friend of Pingu. He is shorter than Pingo, his head is also shorter and his beak is slightly longer and more pointed than that of Pingo.


  • Pongi is a friend of Pingu. He wears glasses. He first appeared in Pingu Plays Ice Hockey.


  • Punki is also another one of Pingu's friends. He first appeared in Pingu Helps To Deliver The Mail. He has a tuft on his head and wears striped trousers. He only appeared in a few cartoons however.


  • Bajoo is also one of Pingu's friends. He is revealed by HiT Entertainment as a 'strange newcomer to the Antarctic in the appearance of an abominable snowman!' He is actually an abominable snowman who recently appeared on the last Pingu episode Pingu and the Abominable Snowman. He also appeared in the music video and in "The Pingu Show", which is a broadcasting device and not an episode by itself.


  • The Schoolmaster is Pingu's teacher. He lives in a nearby school and rings the bell when it is time for school to begin or end. He first appeared in Pingu at School, and he only appeared on episodes involving Pingu at school, however he appears as a minor character in some episodes.


  • Pingi is Pingu's love interest and Pinga's friend. She has pupils on her eyes a and somewhat mushed beak. She first appeared in Pingu's Admirer. Pinga is sometimes jealous at Pingu since he pays more attention to Pingi than her.


References

External links




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