The Simpsons could be around for at least another 20 years in the opinion of one of its leading stars. Yeardley Smith – the French-born actress behind the distinctive voice of Lisa on the show – has delighted the American animated sitcom’s fans by announcing that she expects it to continue until 2039.

Expectation that will celebrate 50th birthday

Fifty-two-year-old Smith clearly sees few serious barriers to the whacky but often extremely accurately observed cartoon extending its term on our TV screens into the future. In a recent interview, she said that the cast is “happy to continue working until the series celebrates its 50th birthday.”

Begun work on 29th series

Smith added that “as long as they continue to have ideas we can keep going,” with the existing cast and crew having only recently begun to work on the 29th series of the cartoon.

Popular cartoon show

The Simpsons burst on to American television as a prime time show back in December 1989, having been introduced to viewers previously in the form of a series of animated shorts on the popular The Tracey Ullman Show. Since then Matt Groening’s creation has grown in popularity and after 28 seasons it continues to pull in millions of viewers.

Working-class family

The satirical observation of a working-class (if somewhat dysfunctional) American family living in the fictional town of Springfield has made The Simpsons a massive hit. Young and old fans have enjoyed and endured in equal measure their travails and successes over the years, taking the characters of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie to their hearts along the way.

Eccentric supporting cast

A strong supporting cast of eccentric characters, featuring the likes of Chief Wiggum, Krusty the Clown, Ned Flanders and Mr Burns among many others, has provided something for just about everyone and provided a myriad of options for each episode. Not to mention the much-loved if often much put upon family pets, Santa’s Little Helper and the various incarnations of Snowball the cat.