Pingu is a British-Swiss stop-motion claymation children's show created by Otmar Gutmann. The main character is a penguin called Pingu, who lives in the South Pole along with his family & friends.
The show was produced by Trickfilmstudio Otmar Gutmann, later known as the Pingu Filmstudio and Pingu Studio in 1990-2000. HiT Entertainment and Hot Animation took over these roles in 2003.
The show was broadcasted on SF DRS and RTSI in Switzerland.In the early 1980s, Otmar Gutmann worked in his small film studio together with the graphic artist Harald Mücke in a competition to produce television advertisments. One of their shorts was Hugo. Gutmann decided to make more out of it, so he pitched a pilot to Swiss television DRS, under the name "Pingu: A Pre-School Children's Story ", in 1986. The pilot was accepted by the publisher and it became a full series, the first few episodes were produced in the late 1980s are the series itself premiered on March 7, 1990. The pilots were later released on DVD as bonus features on Japanese DVD releases. The series was animated using clay animation.
Carlo Bonomi originally did all the voices in the first four seasons and Marcello Magni and David Sant took over until the last episode to date.
In the mid 1990s, due to the new soundtrack and voicing made for Season 3, Seasons 1 and 2 were redubbed and were given new music, these versions of the show started circulating outside of the United Kingdom, and became more common in the early 2000s when HiT Entertainment purchased the show.
In 1997, the first and only Pingu TV special was aired, Pingu at the Wedding Party, the special is about Pingu going to one of his cousins' wedding, it marked the first time Carlo Bionomi had somebody else voice as well as him, and also has a soundtrack composed by Andy Benedict, it was later released on DVD in 2004.
On 29th October 2001, Hit Entertainment bought the rights to The Pygos Group for over £15.9m. At the same time, Season 5 and 6 were green-litted and they were produced by Hot Animation. They needed someone who could speak Penguinese as well as Bonomi did, so David Sant sent to they his CV. He shared Pingu with Marcello Magni, who also had a background in physical theatre. Steve Cox went over to Gutmann’s studio in Switzerland and brought back everything they could find, right down to Biros that had run out. The puppets were all falling apart, so they made moulds and recast them out of resin. Replacement animation, an animation technique that was used in the Puppetoons shorts, became the main technique replacing the claymation.
The new series was also shown on BBC, and lasted for 2 seasons, after the airing of the Season 6 episode Pingu and the Abominable Snowman, Pingu ended abruptly without any announcement.
The show was succeeded by The Pingu Show, an anthology television series in which Pingu lives in his secret whale-shaped funhouse. It was packed with brand new sketches, two classic episodes from Pingu and Penguin Facts with Professor Pingu, the chance to learn more about the amazing world of penguins. It was narrated by Marc Silk. It had in total of 78 episodes.
In 4th September 2017, NHK announced that Pingu will be returning to television for the first time in ten years, on a new television series called Pingu in the City, airing in Japan on October 7th, 2017. The series is made by Polygon Pictures.
Main Characters The main characters who are in the the series are.
- Pingu - Pingu is the main character in the series. He has a sister, grandfather, mother and father, and many friends aswell! He is about 5 years old. His best friend is Robby the Seal, and is often playing with him. He sometimes can be very naughty, but tends to sort things out when he realises the errors of his ways.
- Pinga - Pinga is Pingu's sister. She was introduced in the episode The New Arrival when she was born. She is only 3 years old and goes to playgroup.
- Robby the Seal - A young seal in the series. He plays with Pingu and often gives a fish to Pingu whatever he is going fishing. He was introduced in the episode Pingu Goes Fishing.
- Pingu's Mother - She always gives Pingu & Pinga a cuddle to keep them safe.
- Pingu's Father - A Post Penguin. His son Pingu likes to help him deliver the mail.
- Grandpa - Pingu and Pinga's grandfather. He is in his 60's and he always helps Pingu with his day's activities. He was first introduced in Music Lessons.
- Pingo - Pingu's second best friend. He and Pingu sometimes can argue or do silly things or play good games.
- Pingg - Pingu's third best friend and Pingo's best friend.
- Pongi - Pingu's fourth best friend, who rarely was introduced in the episode Ice Hockey. Since in the episode Pingu on the School Excursion, he has often been depicted wearing glasses.
- Pingi - Pingu's girlfriend. She was introduced in Pingu's Admirer and likes it when Pingu greets her by kissing her flipper.
- Pengy - Pingu's fifth best friend.
- Punki - A local party clown, He has a tuft on his head and often wears striped trousers.
- Season 1
- Season 2
- Season 3
- Season 4
- Season 5
- Season 6
- A Very Special Wedding
- Main article: Pingu around the world
Pingu has been broadcasted in several countries and on different channels since it's debut.
- United States: The Museum of Radio & Television (1990s), Cartoon Network (1996-2001), PBS Kids Sprout (20052010) (As a sidenote, the episodes are also available on Digital)
- United Kingdom: BBC (1990?-1995), CBBC (1995-2002), Nickelodeon UK (1990s), CBeebies (2002-2015), 5Star (2017-)
- Canada: TVOKids, CBC Kids (1990s-????) Knowledge Network (1990s-????), Treehouse TV (1990s-????), APTN Kids (The Pingu Show, 20??-)
- Australia: Seven Network (Segment on The Book Place, 1991-1996), ABC (1997-2016)
- New Zealand: TV3 (1997-2006), Four (2011-)
- India: Doordarshan (1990s) Humgama TV and Animax (2000-)
- Germany: ZDF (1990s-????)
- Japan: NHK (1992-), Cartoon Network Japan (2010s?)
- Italy: JimJam TV (2000s?-), Rai YoYo
- Malaysia: TV3
- Poland: MiniMini+ (2000s-2010s), JimJam/JimJam Polsat (2000s-2010s)
Pingu received mainly positive reviews from both critics & audiences, Common Sense Media gave the show a 4 out of 5 saying "Parents need to know that this claymation series is funny, endearing, and entertaining. Although the series is appropriate for all ages, the plots might be difficult for the youngest viewers to follow". Also in recent years Pingu has obtained a major cult following.
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- Winner - 37th Berlin International Film Festival - Kleinin Baren, 1987
- Winner - Palmares (France) - 1989
- Winner - 6th Indian International Children's Film Festival - Silver Elephant Award, 1990
- Winner - Prix Walo - Radio-, TV- and Filmproductions, 1994
- As a sidenote, the sound effect of walking is made by the artist slapping his arm during the recording session.
- There a few misinterpretations of the show that happen to come around quite a lot, for example:
- Possibly due to how much it was shown in the UK, it is often interpreted to be a British show, despite being a Swiss series. It is possible it was co-produced in the UK.
- The series is often said to have started in 1986, while that was the year the pilot episode was produced, the series itself didn't start production until 1988.
- In the Radio Times' poll for the most favourited children's programme at the BBC in 2014, the series won second place for the best programme of the 1980's, just below "Postman Pat".
- This show featured as one of Helen Skelton's earliest TV memories in BBC1's "The TV That Made Me" with video clips from Pingu Goes Fishing.
- Several models from the series have been on display at the Fun! Fun! Pingu exhibitions in Japan.