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5 Shows like Pingu: There’s No Business like Snow-Business!

Nicola Griffiths itcher‘Pingu’ the penguin has captured hearts the world over since he and his South Pole family and friends first appeared on screen in 1986. If you’re a fan of cuddly animal capers, then ‘Shaun the Sheep’, ‘Wonder Pets’, ‘Oswald’ and others will be just what the doctor ordered. ~ Nicola Griffiths

What’s Cooler than Being Cool? Ice Cold!

The animated adventures of ‘Pingu’ have garnered fans of all nationalities over the years, largely down to the characters speaking nothing but ‘penguinese’. The fictional language meant that the characters’ gestures and the intonation in their voices became key in understanding what was happening.

Pingu’s signature, “NOOT NOOT” with his beak becoming more like the horn of a trumpet whenever he gets frustrated, became a well-known piece of visual comedy from the animators.

‘Pingu’ has managed to teach kids many lessons about right and wrong, and also how to treat your fellow penguin. This warm and gentle program gave us one of the most loved children’s characters of all time, and these TV series like ‘Pingu’ are no exception.

So, from the South Pole we journey to visit a very well-known sheep, a band of pet superheroes and an octopus with a penchant for jaunty bowler hats.


Shows Similar to ‘Pingu’…

‘Shaun the Sheep’ (CBBC, 2007-Present)

‘Shaun the Sheep’ is a TV series like ‘Pingu’ in that it centres around the cheeky adventures of an animated animal, and throughout all we ever hear Shaun say is a well-timed, “Baaaa!”.

This hasn’t stopped him and his barnyard pals from becoming firm favourites with kids and adults all over (fans of ‘Wallace & Gromit’ and ‘Creature Comforts’ will recognise the Aardman claymation style right away), with Shaun even going on to star in his very own movie.

Similarity Match: 85%
Like ‘Pingu’, ‘Shaun the Sheep’ will appeal to kids and adults of all ages without having to worry about a language barrier, but ‘Shaun’ is a lot of knockabout fun whereas ‘Pingu’ often has a valuable lesson to learn.

‘Wonder Pets!’ (Nick Jr, 2006-2013)

Another TV series where animals are definitely the stars comes in the form of ‘Wonder Pets’, featuring three elementary school classroom pets – Linny the Guinea Pig, Turtle Tuck, and Ming-Ming Duckling – as unlikely heroes that go on missions to rescue baby animals whilst extolling the benefits of teamwork.

The animation style is different to that of ‘Pingu’ in that ‘Wonder Pets!’ makes use of ‘photo-puppetry’, (the manipulation of real photographs put against animated backdrops), so viewers don’t miss out on any of the cuteness (and their adventures could take them wherever the animators wanted!).

Similarity Match: 75%
‘Wonder Pets!’ certainly matches ‘Pingu’ for cuteness, but it’s filled with catchy songs and fun dialogue that kids will no doubt love to shout along to.

‘Oswald’ (Nickelodeon, 2001-2003)

This TV series like ‘Pingu’ is loved for its gentle pace, cheerful colour schemes and characters of all shapes and sizes.

Oswald himself is an octopus with a dapper bowler hat, and he and his beloved pooch (a hot dog shaped dachshund named Weenie) go about their business, venturing through the whimsical Big City.

Centred around Oswald and his interactions with his friends, it’s a relaxing watch but one which has such a varied cast that it is certainly not dull by any means.

Similarity Match: 70%
‘Oswald’ has a totally different visual style compared to ‘Pingu’, but fans of ‘Pingu’ will certainly appreciate how simple and loving stories play out through each episode.


If You Like ‘Pingu’, You Will Like…

If you like ‘Pingu’ but want to step away from the animal kingdom (albeit a fictional, animated one), then these children’s TV classics will be right up your street.

‘Fireman Sam’ (CBBC, 1987-Present)

Situated in the fictional Welsh rural town of Pontypandy, ‘Fireman Sam’ has become a national institution since he first appeared in 1987.

It follows Sam, a local hero in the village, as he and his crew manage to get the local villagers out of an alarming number of scrapes considering the size of the tiny village itself.

Earning praise for showing children how to stay calm in a crisis and rely on a team to solve problems, there were certainly some lessons involved, but they were always handled in an accessible and ultimately completely charming way.

‘Fireman Sam’ and ‘Pingu’ both set great examples for kids and adults alike, however ‘Fireman Sam’ always had a more practical safety element to it (and also wins hands down in the theme tune stakes).

‘Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends’ (ITV, 1984-Present)

‘Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends’ has long been every little engineer’s favourite, following Thomas and the rest of The Steam Team (Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, Percy, Toby & Emily) as they get up to mischief under the ever watchful eye of the Fat Controller.

It’s worth noting that over the years, Thomas also made a lot of famous friends too – with Ringo Starr acting as storyteller and narrator from 1984-1986, a role which has also been filled by Alec Baldwin and George Carlin.

‘Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends’ and ‘Pingu’ are both great examples of how earlier styles of animation have stood the test of time, but with ‘Thomas’ there was always the added bonus of it feeling like settling down for story time.


What Did the Sea Say to the Penguin? Nothing, It Just Waved…

If you’re looking for more TV shows like ‘Pingu’, then there’s plenty of claymation fun to be had with creations such as Aardman favourite ‘Morph’, woollen space-mice ‘The Clangers’ or the at-times cheeky ‘The Trap Door’.

Think I’ve missed any TV shows like ‘Pingu’?

Let us know in the comments section.

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