bluey's family in bluey

How ‘Bluey’ Came To Be

Bluey is everywhere. I go shopping for groceries and I find myself confronted with Bluey greetings cards, pencil cases, stickers, plastic toys, and more. Children of my acquaintance can’t stop talking about cartoon dogs. Clearly it’s Bluey Heeler’s world and the rest of us are just living in it.

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It’s hard to argue Bluey doesn’t deserve the status of “phenomenon” because it is genuinely really good. But how did it go from a quiet Australian children’s show to a global mega-franchise? Let’s take a look at how Bluey evolved into what it is today.

How Bluey was created

Bluey’s most iconic characters and concepts primarily came from the life of Joe Brumm, the man who created the show. Growing up, he had a Blue Heeler dog named Bluey—and that dog had no idea of the impact it would have on children’s television.

Brumm studied animation at Australia’s Griffith University and then moved to London to work on children’s shows including Charlie and Lola and Peppa Pig. He also had two daughters, and his experience raising them further sowed the seeds of Bluey.

In 2009 Brumm returned to Australia and decided to create his own children’s show similar to the ones he’d worked on. “I really like Peppa Pig, and it was the top of the heap of those shows,” he told the Independent in 2022. “I really liked how it just told very simple, relatable stories about kids that had a real sense of being from the UK—so I wanted to do something that had a real sense of being from Oz.” He knew he wanted his main characters to be dogs, and originally he envisioned a kelpie as the main character, but then he remembered his childhood pet Bluey. Everything came together. Bluey would tell the story of a Blue Heeler dog who lived in Brisbane with her family, growing up immersed in Australian culture and learning new things via playtime with her parents and sister.

Brumm and his team at Ludo Studio (which included his wife Suzy Brumm) put together a five-minute Bluey sample in 2016, and this caught the eyes of ABC and BBC executives. They put money behind the project, and before too long Bluey was ready to go.

Bluey’s debut

Bluey came out in 2018 and was a big hit with Australian and British audiences. Disney took an interest, and in 2019 they purchased the international broadcasting rights. American audiences got a glimpse at Bluey and they very much liked what they saw.

“It was very gratifying, very heartening, when Disney took it on—and then when we started getting feedback come through from American viewers that it didn’t bother them that it was so local, I guess, they were obviously just seeing what the heart of the show was – which is just parents trying to raise kids and the beautiful little world that kids live in,” Brumm told the Independent.

The power of Bluey lay in its presentation of Bluey’s relationship with her family. Parents instantly related to the mom and dad of the show, Chilli and Bandit, and soon the show gained a major adult following as well. Now adults proudly wear their Bluey shirts and sing the praises of the show.

Bluey’s come a long way since 2018, and the show is certain to go down in television history as one of the most popular and beloved children’s series ever.

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Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.