Richard Ridings is an actor and the voice of Daddy Pig in the popular Peppa Pig children's cartoon. He talks about the importance of stories, freaking out three-year-olds and how Mummy Pig remains a mystery.
Just what is Daddy Pig like?
I think there is a subtle pomposity about him, the "I'm a bit of an expert at this" act, which sets him up for a fall. It's a nice, subtle comedy. He is sweet and kind.
How does it compare to your other roles?
I have done a lot of computer games in which I play evil people (deep, evil laugh).
So how did you get to be Daddy Pig?
I knew one of the chaps who created it socially; we were chatting away and he said "Do you know, I might have something you'd be interested in, have a look". I was utterly charmed by the scripts, they are fantastic. I was just about to go and film The Brothers Grimm with Terry Gilliam in Prague, so to get the first series of Peppa Pig done I did my parts all in one day from 7.30am to 9pm.
What's Mummy Pig like?
Very rarely do I record with the other characters. I have met them, but Mummy Pig and I have certainly never recorded together. Someone told me there was once a Facebook page entitled, "Is Daddy Pig a victim of domestic abuse?" I thought that was hilarious.
Why did you back Fathers' Story Week?
Reading stories is a very enriching part of parenting. It's about going into an enchanted world together, that willingness to jump in and lead the child into it.
Which stories were your children's favourites?
My favourite one to read when Freya was very young was a beautiful story called Owl Babies, and that was invariably just long enough for her to want it again. Four or five times. Arden loved Dr Seuss, and when he was slightly older the Mr Gum series. He loves anarchic humour.
Are you now recognised everywhere you go?
Someone asked me if I would like to do an appearance at a fete - I explained I could come, but I didn't have a tall, pink pig outfit. It is a real honour to have that kind of affection. Quite often I will be going round the supermarket chatting away to my daughter and a three-year-old will stop and go rigid. You see them trying to get their parent's attention - they can hear the voice, but where is the big pink pig? It's hilarious.