The Simpsons is a cartoon series dreamt up by Life in Hell creator, Matt Groening, apparently whilst sitting in the foyer of an office block when he had 15 minutes to kill before meeting his future co-worker James L. Brooks.

The show itself centres around the lives of the eponymous family, Homer , Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, as well as a whole host of other characters, in the town of Springfield. Several famous people have made guest appearances on the show as part of a storyline, including David Duchovny, Adam West, Spinal Tap, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Barry White. Much of the cartoon's subject matter is clearly aimed at adults, with a fair smattering of popular culture and film references in many episodes .

Apart from the high quality humour and animation, the show is famous for its long running gags, including Bart's blackboard punishments during the title sequence, and the subliminal messages that pop up when Maggie is scanned into the shopping till, as well as for the numerous catchphrases that have wormed their way into common parlance, including such 'classics' as Aye Carumba, and most notably D'oh!

The Simpsons was originally broadcast on 19th April, 1987, as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. It was so popular that is was spun off as its own series hosted on The Fox Network as of 17th December 1989. The original three series were animated by Klasky-Csupo, and subsequent series have been made by Film Roman. The voices for the family are provided by Dan Castellaneta as Homer, Julie Kavner as Marge, Nancy Cartwright as Bart and Yeardley Smith as Lisa .The show has run for over 250 episodes stretched over 11 series making it one of the worlds longest running animated programs, and has won many awards including a Peabody Award, 16 Emmy Awards, 8 Annie Awards, three Genesis Awards, three International Monitor Awards, three Environmental Media Awards, and also has a star on The Walk of Fame.