Exclusive: Belfast production company SixteenSouth has won the contract to make a version of legendary children’s educational programme Sesame Street specifically for Northern Ireland.
Aimed at children aged three to six, the first series – comprising 20 episodes, each 15 minutes long – will be broadcast by the BBC from February 2008.
Made in association with Sesame Workshop – the New York-based, non-profit education organisation behind the multi award-winning US and international versions of Sesame Street – the programme will offer content for children, parents and teachers related to the Foundation Stage of the new Northern Ireland curriculum and will also have its own dedicated website.
Along with familiar Sesame Street characters such as Elmo and Cookie Monster, new characters will be created for a Northern Irish audience.
Sesame Workshop president Gary E Knell applauded SixteenSouth’s “exciting original concept” and said he hoped it would result in “a unique show that will be relevant, humorous, engaging and reflective of a brighter future for the children of Northern Ireland”.
Colin Williams, managing director of SixteenSouth’s parent company The Inferno Group, welcomed the announcement as “a truly amazing opportunity, a real privilege to create a programme our children will grow up with and, 30 years from now, remember the songs, the loveable characters, the stories and, most importantly, the life lessons”.
Funding for the series has been provided by the International Fund for Ireland, the Northern Ireland Fund for Reconciliation and the project’s anchor sponsor, the American Ireland Fund.