Iconic Australian kids cartoon Bluey to end filming after just three seasons

Iconic Australian kids cartoon Bluey to end filming after just three seasons

It has singlehandedly redefined kids animation around the world but Bluey – the iconic Australian cartoon about a family of happy heeler dogs – may well be about to have a very sudden ending.

Sources close to the show’s Brisbane production hub claim the series may be ‘wrapped up’ in the coming months due to one significant factor – the voice of the young actor behind Bluey is changing.

The actor, whose identity has been kept secret to protect her privacy, is among friends and family of the production team.

But after four years and 130 episodes, the young actor’s voice has naturally matured leaving producers with the choice to either re-cast the role or – more drastically – end the show, insiders say.

Bluey producers are currently completing the final 26 episodes of the show’s third season – and beyond that, the sources claim there is unlikely to be a season four.

However it’s understood the show will live on in live theatre performances.

‘It has been one of if not the hardest and most heartbreaking decision the producers have had to make,’ said an insider at Bluey’s production studio Ludo in Brisbane.

‘The show is obviously so profitable. But it’s legacy is also seen as more important than anything else so the idea is to ‘go out on a high’.

A spokesperson for Bluey’s distributor at the BBC in the UK declined to confirm the show’s third season would be its last.

‘Right now Ludo is working hard on series 3, which we’re thrilled to bring audiences this year,’ they told Daily Mail Australia.

‘We’re very excited about the future of Bluey, which is now a huge global success, and there’s certainly much more to come.’

Ludo later released a statement to Daily Mail Australia saying rumours the cartoon would be canned were ‘inaccurate’.

‘We absolutely love Bluey and there are no plans to end the show. We always finish a season before planning the next one and right now we’re halfway through series three and really excited about the future – we can’t wait to share new episodes.’

A number of popular kids’ shows have made high profile re-casting decisions over the years, including the UK preschooler hit Bing! which switched out both leads in between seasons one and two.

The producer of Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood discussed the challenges of casting children in voice roles back in 2019, saying the lead of Daniel was regularly changed in the popular American series.

‘The show has been airing for six years so we have had to recast,’ Chris Loggins told The Not-The-Mama Dad’ blog, confirming they had used three actors across four years.

It’s rumoured Bluey’s series producer and creator Joe Brumm is against the idea of re-casting out of ‘respect’ to the original voice actor who has played such an integral and distinctive role of the show’s mammoth success.

Bluey’s little sister Bingo is also voiced by one of the children of the show’s production crew and also has remained anonymous.

The other prominent voices of dad Bandit and mother Chilli have been famously provided by former Custard lead singer David McCormack and actress Melanie Zanetti respectively.

Launched in 2018 on the ABC in Australia, Bluey was swiftly hailed for its refreshing characters, particularly Bandit as a capable and astute father as opposed to a bumbling background character common in kids programming.

It also earned rave reviews from critics and parents applauding its good-natured naturalism and riffs on modern parenting.

One of the few kids shows enjoyed by parents and kids in equal measure, the show would eventually go on to win a string of awards worldwide including a Kids Emmy in 2019 for its night-time-routine tear-jerker episode ‘Sleepytime’ and Best Animated Series at the 2021 Critics Choice Awards.

Bluey creator and writer Joe Brumm (R) with producer Charlie Aspinwall winning Best Children's program at the 2019 Logies

In a list published by US Rolling Stone Magazine of the top 100 sitcoms of all time, Bluey was listed at 96, being the only Australian series to be featured.

It remains the most-downloaded show in the ABC’s history.

The show has also spawned a multi-million dollar merchandise industry via licensing deals with Target, Big W, Target, Kmart, Catch, Peter Alexander and Bonds.

The series will also live on for years to come through lucrative re-runs and licensing deals as well as live shows, with a major US live tour planned later this year.

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