Popular kids TV shows Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank have respectively introduced their first same-sex couple and first character with autism.
Peppa Pig is one of the most popular TV shows for pre-school-aged children, with the titular character enjoying the adventures of everyday activities. The show has been running since May 2004.
The personified animals, which included Peppa’s pals Danny Dog and Suzi Sheep among others, were drawing pictures of their families when the historic moment happened.
The episode, which aired on Channel 5 on Monday morning, saw Penny Polar-Bear drawing herself with two female polar bears both dressed in dresses.
Penny explained: ‘I’m Penny Polar Bear. I live with my mummy and my other mummy.
‘One mummy is a doctor and one mummy cooks spaghetti. I love spaghetti.’
Many people too to Twitter to welcome the LGBTQ characters.
One said: ‘Ok imma start by saying i have a 4 yr old cousin lol… THERE ARE LESBIAN MOMS IN PEPPA PIG????? adult shows struggle to do representation and peppa pig are just out here giving us lesbian polar bears???’
Another said: ‘Peppa pig introducing its first same-sex couple has given me such happiness this morning.’
However, one person said: ‘Ffs leave our f*****g kids alone.’
A fourth person noted: ‘It’s cartoon talking animals. The lesbians in question are polar bears. If you’re struggling to explain lesbians but can fully hop on board with talking, domesticated polar bears who live in human-like houses then I think you’re the problem.’
Meanwhile, fellow children’s TV show Thomas & Friends will be introducing their first character with autism in their latest move to diversify on-screen representation in the hit series.
Bruno the Brake Car will be voiced by nine-year-old autistic actor Elliott Garcia from Reading, United Kingdom.
Garcia will begin appearing in the latest episodes of Thomas & Friends later this month.
US toy giant Mattel – who acquired Thomas the Tank Engine in 2011 – said it had ‘carefully curated Bruno’s character to ensure an accurate fictional representation of autism.’
The company revealed that Bruno rolls in reverse at the end of the train which gives him ‘a unique perspective on the world.’ Bruno loves schedules, routines, timetables and particularly loves ‘when everything goes to plan.’
Bruno has the ability to flap his ladders whenever he wants to signify that he is overwhelmed, worried or excited. He also wears ear defenders, at times, when there is a loud noise.
Mattel collaborated with organisations Autistic Self Advocacy Network and National Austistic Society UK (NAS UK), which helped with the casting of Garcia in the role.
Mattel said: ‘Bruno opens the door for global audiences.’
The character is also set to appear in the YouTube series, music album, the Thomas & Friends Storytime podcast and an upcoming special, as well as a range of merchandise set to launch later this year.