Harley Bird, the actress who voiced children's cartoon character Peppa Pig for over 10 years, is stepping down from the role at age 18. Bird, who is in her final year of A-levels, has been starring on Peppa Pig for 13 years and won a BAFTA for the role in 2011. She also performed songs for Peppa's recent album release, My First Album.
"Becoming the voice of Peppa Pig at the age of five was the start of an incredible journey, and I'll never forget my time on the show," Bird said in a statement, via the BBC. The teen added that her co-stars had "become like a family" and had given her "unforgettable memories” and that she was "looking forward to starting the next chapter."
Bird will be replaced by 9-year-old Amelie Bea Smith, who will appear in all English-speaking episodes of the show beginning with its Valentine's Day episode.
"We're delighted to welcome Amelie to the Peppa Pig voice cast and confident that she will continue the strong legacy of the previous Peppa voice actors," co-creators Neville Astley and Mark Baker said in a statement, via CNN.
Smith's agent, Mark Jermin, said his client was "thrilled" to be the new voice of Peppa.
"Amelie has been a huge fan of the show since she was little, so voicing the title role is like a dream come true and she's thrilled to become part of the voice cast," Jermin added.
In her statement, Bid wished Smith "the best of luck" in the role.
Peppa Pig premiered in 2004, with the titular pig voiced by Lily Snowden-Fine. Cecily Bloom took over the role in 2006 before Bird became the voice of Peppa in 2007. Bird is the longest-running voice of the cartoon pig and has appeared in 185 episodes of the show.
Peppa Pig is enormously popular with children, and according to Statista, the brand generated $1.35 billion in revenue in 2019.
In recent years, Peppa Pig has also developed an excellent online presence that has led to memes, doctored Google searches and P even a Twitter feud with Iggy Azalea. On Sunday, Peppa tweeted about her missing Grammys invitation (which she naturally should have received for her excellent debut album), a query that was accompanied by a GIF of Peppa searching her house.
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