Peppa Pig Faces Chop In Oz Over Budget Row
It is the British TV cartoon loved by toddlers around the world, but Peppa Pig could soon be for the chop in Australia.
The potential demise of the anthropomorphic Peppa and her family has consumed the Oz media, with letters being written and newspaper columnists snorting in dispair.
Stressed parents Down Under are jumping up and down (and not just in muddy puddles) that they might lose the five minutes of peace Peppa and her family give each time they appear on the box.
The row is a tiny part of a much bigger debate about Australia's tough new budget which has been implemented to try to reduce the country's deficit.
As part of the cuts taxpayer-funded broadcaster the ABC is losing £20m and its managing director, Mark Scott, has been responding.
He told a Senate committee hearing he could not rule out programme cuts and refused to say if the children's favourite could be saved from the sausage factory.
"We have contracts to continue to deliver Peppa Pig but of course the service we provide depends on the funding envelope provided," he said.
But Prime Minister Tony Abbott has hit back, saying the broadcaster may be telling little porkies.
A spokeswoman told the ABC that the broadcaster should operate more efficiently and "rather than butchering Peppa Pig" it could "consider trimming the fat" off pricey outside broadcasts.
It is not the first time Peppa has been used for political purposes in Australia. Last year columnist Piers Akerman criticised the ABC's "left-wing agenda" by suggesting Peppa had political leanings.
"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," he declared.
Commentators suggest sending Peppa to the abattoir would cause more uproar than the students who recently went on the march protesting about university funding cuts.
So is this the last time Peppa and her animal friends will be used to illustrate issues between the government and the ABC? Well pigs might fly.