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Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
NI awaits its own Sesame Street
Sesame Street characters
Northern Ireland's Sesame Street is coming soon
The hunt for our very own "Big Bird" is on.

Sassy, fluffy and forever cute, Sesame Street, the popular American children's television series will soon be brought to you, courtesy of the letters N and I... for Northern Ireland.

The educational children's show which features fluffy puppet stars helps teach pre-schoolers their numbers and words.

The New York-based company are seeking proposals from production companies and industry professionals for the television production of a local adaptation of Sesame Street.

It will be developed and produced in Northern Ireland and broadcast by BBC-NI.

But in an area where "cookie" means slightly off the wall and never a custard cream, could the "Bikkie Beastie" replace the big blue Cookie Monster?

And, given the excitement surrounding a whole new era in Irish politics, could Bert 'n Ernie transform into Ian 'n Bertie?

Kofi Annan with Muppets
Kofi Annan says Sesame Street promotes understanding

Children and adults everywhere are looking forward to losing their hearts to little red Elmo with a Ballymena accent or big green Oscar living in a local wheelie bin.

International versions of Sesame Street are given their own Muppets to reflect local issues.

In the Egyptian adaptation, girl Muppet Khokha (Peach) wants to be an astronaut or a doctor and serves as a female role model.

The South African version of the popular children's TV series has an HIV-positive character called Kami to encourage acceptance of people living with the virus.

The sheer popularity of Sesame Street has attracted celebrities and some controversy for the show.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, and US first ladies Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton, are among the leaders to have appeared on the show.

And in the Middle East, Israeli and Palestinian show makers have tried to keep a fine balance by writing sequences which combine both Jewish and Arab Muppets.

There have been reports that show has also been put to unlikely uses by US interrogators in Iraq.

In 2003, it emerged they had tormented captives with the Sesame Street theme music in an attempt to make them talk.

Sesame Workshop's Beatrice Chow, however, called this an "unfounded rumour".


SEE ALSO
Big Bird's bid for Mid-East peace
14 Nov 03 |  Entertainment
Is Elmo Bush's secret weapon?
03 Sep 03 |  Magazine
HIV puppet on Sesame Street
17 Sep 02 |  Africa
HIV Muppet 'not for US'
17 Jul 02 |  Entertainment
Kofi Annan on Sesame Street
07 Dec 01 |  Entertainment

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