... tune into Cbeebies at 10.40am, that's how!!!
Yes, the second series of the Northern Ireland produced Sesame Tree started this week on Cbeebies, more than two and a half years since the first series launched on BBC2 NI in April 2008. It's probably no secret to regular readers of this blog just how much a fan of Sesame Street I was as a child - I sang their praises in celebration of the 40th anniversary last year, and as an adult and parent I am eternally grateful to the educational and social impact it has had on me, much of which I strive to pass on to my own son and niece. I am therefore proud as punch that my adopted homeland is the focus of this successful spin-off, that teaches the ideals of friendship, respect and the value of diversity to children. The main age group aim is 3-6 year olds, though the wee man was glued to it this morning, proving that a good old dose of puppets and music can make something accessible to the very young too.
However Sesame Tree is not unique to Northern Ireland. The concept has been adopted by a number of countries, perhaps most famously in South Africa, where Kami, the HIV Positive muppet character has been used to great affect to promote awareness of AIDS and HIV related issues. In the following video Kami discusses the issue with former US President Bill Clinton. I'd also like to at this point name and shame the Republican congressmen Bill Tauzin, Chip Pickering, Fred Upton, Joe Barton, Richard Burr and Cliff Stearns, who in 2002 went on record as cautioning PBS against introducing a similar character into the US version, reminding the publicly funded channel that Congress could remove funding. Gentlemen, you are appalling douche bags and should be ashamed of yourselves.
Long live the Sesame Street family, wherever in the world you are enjoying it.