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 productions team.
But, after four years and 130 episodes, the young actor’s voice has naturally matured leaving producers with the decision to either re-cast the role or – more drastically – end the show.
Bluey airs on Disney + in 33 countries including the US, the UK, China, France and Germany
Starting in 2018, Bluey has become the most successful kids show since The Wiggles and has been hailed as one of the best sitcoms of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine
Bluey producers are currently completing the final 26 episodes of the show’s third season and, beyond that sources say there is unlikely to be a season four.
However it’s understood Bluey 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’.
Contacted for comment a spokesperson for Bluey’s distributor at the BBC in the UK declined to confirm its third season would be its last, telling Daily Mail Australia; ‘Right now Ludo is working hard on series 3, which we’re thrilled to bring audiences this year.
‘We’re very excited about the future of Bluey, which is now a huge global success, and there’s certainly much more to come.’
However, the production company, Ludo, released a statement following publication claiming the claim the show was ending was ‘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.”
No comment was made with regards to the voice actors behind the beloved characters or plans to re-cast any performers.
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.
Dave McCormack, former lead singer of Custard, collecting AAACTA Award for Best Children’s Programming
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.
Actress Melanie Zanetti voices the role of Chilli – mum to Bluey and Bingo
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
Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman lent her voice to an episode of in Bluey’s third season where she narrated a whale documentary on the show
Bluey and little sister Bingo are voiced by a children of the show’s production staff
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.