Italy's far-right Fratelli d'Italia in Peppa Pig row over same-sex couple

Row comes ahead of Italy's upcoming general election.

The popular children's cartoon series Peppa Pig is at the centre of a political row in Italy over the show's inclusion of two co-parenting lesbian polar bears.

The episode, entitled Families, sees Penny announce: "I live with my mummy and my other mummy. One mummy is a doctor and one mummy cooks spaghetti".

The far-right Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) party of Giorgia Meloni, widely tipped to be Italy's next prime minister after elections later this month, has appealed to state broadcaster not to air the episode with the two mothers.

Federico Mollicone, culture spokesman of the conservative nationalist party, said it would be "unacceptable" for RAI to broadcast the episode, saying: "We cannot accept gender indoctrination", reports Italian newspaper La Stampa.

"Once again political correctness strikes again, and our children are the ones who pay the price", Mollicone said, adding: "Can't children just be children?"

Enrico Letta, leader of the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD), took aim at Meloni on Twitter, asking if she thought Peppa Pig "should be censored while the video of a woman raped in Piacenza should be shared without limits?"

PD politician and gay rights activist Alessandro Zan, whose bill aimed at fighting homophobia was blocked by right-wing senators last year, took a mocking tone on Twitter: "Fratelli d'Italia raises the alarm, a new enemy is besieging the nation: Peppa Pig."

This is the first time in its 18-year history that the hit television show, created by British animators Mark Baker and Neville Astley, has featured a same-sex couple.

The episode was aired in the UK on Tuesday, two years after an online petition demanded a "same-sex parent family on Peppa Pig".