Peppa Pig recently paid a visit to London. What did we learn?
The action starts as Peppa and her classmates alight from a steam train. But at which station? The tube roundels imply that we're on the underground, but the architecture and platform numbers suggest a mainline station. We're going to plump for King's Cross, which does sometimes receive vintage trains. Plus, the tube map on the wall is reminiscent of the Northern line.
It's already clear that we're in a fantasy world — nobody is looking at a mobile phone. It feels creepy and wrong.
Like many a tourist, our friends make a beeline for Buckingham Palace. Miss Rabbit, who has met the Queen before, rings the doorbell. Her Majesty answers and invites the troupe of young animals inside for a royal appointment.
Now, we have no problem with giant talking rabbits roaming around the Palace [insert joke about the Queen Mum's gin sessions]. What we can't forgive is the flag (see pic above). As any pedant knoweth, the Royal Standard should be flying over the Palace when the Queen is at home, not the Union Flag. Tsk, slapdash.
The Queen offers to show Peppa's class around her city. She commandeers a double-decker, slovenly parked on the red lines outside the Palace — a nice detail, which is strangely absent in real life. Another curious detail is the bus's destination. The genuine number 15 runs from Poplar to Charing Cross and goes nowhere near Balham. Is this some kind of pig/ham pun? Whatever, this is a highly suspicious bus.
Undeterred, our friends hop onboard and proceed to mount the stairs to the top deck. But what's this? The stairs are on the left-hand side of the bus. That never happens. What strange fantasy world is this?...
...One in which Westminster Bridge runs parallel to the Houses of Parliament.
It's at this stage in the tour that one of the great London pedant-points is addressed. The Queen announces that the bus is passing the clock tower called Big Ben. Know-it-all Edmond Elephant dares to correct Her Majesty. "Actually, Big Ben is the bell, not the tower," he smarms. But Edmond is wrong too. Big Ben is a bell, not the bell. The tower contains five bells, of which Big Ben is the largest. At least he doesn't repeat the St Stephen's myth.
And so to Tower Bridge. The Queen's attempt to drive across is thwarted by Police Officer Squirrel, who holds the bus in line while a ship passes under the bridge. There's a scrumptious detail here. Can you spot it? Over on the right, behind the squirrel, is a red marking. This is the symbol of the Bridge House Estates, the trust that built and maintains Tower Bridge. That is a really geeky thing to include, so hats off to the animators.
The impetuous monarch decides to jump the bridge. It is a reckless stunt that not only endangers the lives of an entire playgroup, but also risks a constitutional crisis. Twitter would have a meltdown. Nevertheless, she makes it over by the skin of her teeth.
The act of death defiance parodies a genuine event from London's history. In 1952 — the year of the Queen's accession — bus driver Albert Gunter jumped the river in a number 78 bus. Read all about that here.
After crossing the bridge, our porcine pals travel through the City, passing a skyline of familiar landmarks. The roll call includes Tower 42, the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater, the Monument, St Paul's and old Billingsgate. All good, faultless stuff. Except... is that an actual litter bin in the Square Mile? Surely not.
The story ends in a rainy Trafalgar Square, where everybody loves jumping up and down in London puddles (except Mummy and Daddy Pig, who enjoy a rare absence from this episode).
Peppa Pig in London was originally screened as part of the My First Cinema Experience, and is currently available on the My5 site (channel 5's equivalent of iPlayer).