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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 07:55 GMT
Bert and Ernie in Belfast debut
Sesame Tree characters
Potto, Claribelle and Hilda from Sesame Tree

The new BBC Northern Ireland version of the children's series Sesame Street will launch in Belfast later.

Local characters Hilda and Potto join familiar faces Bert, Ernie, and Elmo in 'Sesame Tree', which starts in April.

The new series swaps the New York street setting of the original series for the titular tree.

The twenty 15-minute shows feature aspects of rural and urban life in Northern Ireland and all over the world.

They aim to showcase diversity and promote respect and understanding amongst three to six-year-olds.

The series is linked to the revised Northern Ireland statutory curriculum, and will encourage children to explore and appreciate the world around them.

Each episode features a different adventure for muppets Potto and Hilda, including young girls preparing and practicing their Irish dancing, and members of the Boys Brigade gathering all the tools they need for a night walk.


Sesame Tree is produced by Belfast production company Sixteen South, with the help of Sesame Street muppeteer Marty Robinson, whose alter-egos include Aloysius Snuffleupagus, Telly Monster and Slimey the Worm.

Colin Williams, Executive Producer, said it was an "honour" to work on Sesame Tree.

"The characters, stories and the whole concept is very innovative and really charming.

"We know the children of Northern Ireland will have as much fun watching the series as we had making it," he said.

Sesame Tree debuts on BBC2 Northern Ireland on 5 and 6 April.

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