Erm, Family Guy killed off a major character. They killed off Brian, and he’s not coming back. No really. That’s what happened. The family pet was killed off in a car accident, and the Griffins went to a pound and picked up a new dog, with a mafia-style attitude to boot.

Family GuySad times: these two won't be enjoying any more jokes together

The death of Brian was a huge surprise for fans, who were promised the end of a major character in this Sunday’s episode, but who wouldn’t have expected him to go due to his importance to the last 11 seasons of the show. Alas, the Family Guy team were in the mood for a shock, electing the chatty mutt to meet his maker.

"This was an idea that got pitched in the writers room and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up,” the show's executive producer Steve Callaghan told E-Online. “As soon as this idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the family dynamics and the characters,” he added.

Family Guy Brian Dies episodeDon't worry, this isn't Brian's replacement

Replacing Brian is Vinnie, voiced by The Sopranos actor, Tony Sirico, who played Paulie Walnuts on the legendary HBO drama, which features the late James Gandolfini. The dog ‘has attitude’ and will, Fox hope, add a fresh twist for the animated comedy. “It seemed more in the realm of a reality that a dog would get hit by a car, than if one of the kids died,” Callaghan added.

“As much as we love Brian, and as much as everyone loves their pets, we felt it would be more traumatic to lose one of the kids, rather than the family pet.”

Family Guy Stuey