Our favourite pack of playful pups spreads Christmas cheer
THIS year's biggest success story of Australian television isn't a reality TV show or a hard-hitting drama, but a humble animated series about a playful family of Blue Heelers.
For the team behind Bluey, there's a lot to celebrate this festive season. Not only has the preschool series taken the crown for the most-watched program on ABC iView - with more than 100 million views and counting - it has also debut around the world on Disney Junior and Disney+.
"It's been interesting having it go into the US and Europe. We can feel it building and over the next couple of months will be when we really feel it," executive producer Daley Pearson tells The Guide.
"We get a lot of letters, which we never expected. A lot of parents say it's helped them to realise playing with their kids isn't something they need to drive half an hour for or put in the calendar."
Produced by Brisbane's Emmy-winning Ludo Studios, the series follows the adventures of lovable and inexhaustible six-year-old puppy Bluey who lives with her dad Bandit, mum Chilli and four-year-old sister Bingo.
"Ever since the creator Joe Brumm and I first chatted about it, he always had this idea of idiosyncratic play," Pearson says.
"In play you get to learn responsibility, communication and collaboration and you also get to explore jealously and all that sort of stuff at the same time. It's a child's first draft of life."
With no superheroes or catchy singalongs, Pearson admits it was a difficult concept to pitch initially.
"Nobody is saving the planet; it really is just about a family playing, which sounds pretty boring in a sentence," he says.
"It's almost in that Seinfeld area. It was a pretty boring show to pitch, so we had to make it to show what it was. We made a five-minute pilot with the ABC and once we made it, it happened pretty quickly from there.
"It was never a show that was meant to teach anything or come out with any lessons, but it's funny how much feedback we've had from parents that it's helped them reconnect with their kids - maybe that's the best lesson."
To cap off Bluey's record-breaking year, the ABC is airing a special Christmas episode titled Verandah Santa and a 12 Days of Bluey countdown the most popular episodes as voted by viewers.
"We couldn't see this episode happening anywhere else than Brisbane," Pearson says.
"When I was growing up, you expected it to be snowing when you woke up but it was never like the movies. We want families to have something in the library that is an Australian Christmas."
Bluey's Verandah Santa Christmas special premieres at 6.20pm tonight on ABC Kids.