Peppa Pig voice Harley Bird to step down
The actress who voices Peppa Pig is leaving the role after more than a decade.
Harley Bird, 18, who has been the cartoon character's voice since she was five, said the cast of the TV series had given her "unforgettable memories".
She will be replaced by nine-year-old Amelie Bea Smith, who becomes the fourth actress to take on the voice of the anthropomorphic pig.
Smith will first appear in the Peppa Pig episode on Valentine's Day.
Bird, who is in her final year of A-Levels, won a Bafta for the role in 2011 and performed songs for the recent Peppa Pig My First Album release.
She said: "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."
She added her co-stars on the show had "become like a family" and had given her "unforgettable memories."
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Bird said she was "looking forward to starting the next chapter" and wished Smith "the best of luck" in the role.
Peppa Pig co-creators Neville Astley and Mark Baker said: "As our longest-standing Peppa, Harley's award-winning contribution to the show over the past 13 years has been tremendous, making her a key part of the success of Peppa Pig."
Smith previously appeared in several episodes of EastEnders in 2018 and 2019.
Her agent, Mark Jermin said she has been "a huge fan of the show since she was little, so voicing the title role is like a dream come true".
Astley and Baker said they are "confident" Smith "will continue the strong legacy of the previous Peppa voice actors."
She is the fourth artist to take on the role after Bird, Lily Snowden-Fine and Cecily Bloom.
Lily Snowden-Fine was the first to voice Peppa Pig when the series debuted in 2004, before Cecily Bloom provided the voice of the character in the second series in 2006.
Bird took over from the third series in 2007, and has appeared in 185 episodes of the show.
Smith's voice as Peppa Pig will be heard in the UK, the US, Australia and other international territories that show episodes in English.
Peppa Pig first aired in 2004 on Channel 5's Milkshake and Nick Jr.
It is now available in more than 180 territories and is broadcast in more than 40 languages.