Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sesame Tree - Northern Ireland Muppetry coming soon

Update - April 2007 - it's made it onto our screens.

Marty Robinson - Sesame Street puppeteer - Sesame Tree - The Jim Henson Company

Long time readers of AiB will remember a couple of posts about Sesame Street coming to Northern Ireland.

After holding local auditions back in the autumn, local puppeteers working with expert Marty Robinson started filming the local Sesame Tree programme in in Blackstaff Studios on Great Victoria Street and with groups of children around the province.

(If Gordon Brown had gone ahead with an early election, the same studio would have been needed for both the daytime election count coverage and Sesame Tree, which might have led to jokes about our local politicians being muppets!

With filming and editing now complete, Sesame Tree will hit our screens on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 April over on BBC Two. There’s a five minute preview of what you can expect!

Promo shot for Northern Ireland's Sesame Tree

As well as some contributions from Bert and Ernie, Elmo and the Cookie Monster, expect to see some new local puppets.

Potto is the big purple character, “gentle, bookish and a brilliant inventor”. Assisted by Hilda (a younger and more energetic hare with pink guddies gutties), the pair will answer the questions posed by Northern Ireland children to the Sesame Tree each week.

The supporting cast includes the Bookworms (two helpful and friendly worm-Muppets who live among Potto's books), Claribelle (“a bright, loveable and eccentric auntie character who occasionally visits the tree”) and the three Weatherberries (Muppet fruit - that hang together in a bunch inside the Sesame Tree).

Martin McGuinness enjoying the company of some Muppets - Northern Ireland's Sesame Tree

Updated - Will & Testament brings a photo of a previous Education Minister enjoying a lesson from the Muppets Potto and Hilda.

McGuinness: Did you hear that Big Bird's retiring?

Potto: Noooooo?

Commenting at the launch on Monday, Martin McGuinness said:

"Potto and Hilda are a combination that work well together, and today we saw a very strong message of sharing that we would all do well to share ...

We have an 82-year-old unionist and a 57-year-old republican agreeing to share power, and they have done so since May last year. This is work we can all be involved in, across all the spectrums and age groups, to eradicate sectarianism and racism.

If people are prepared to work together it will be a huge step forward, and if we can make that progress with young children, it will complement the political process."

1 comment:

John said...

[Insert the obvious "There are enough Muppets in the North already" joke here.]