Robinson and McGuinness meet new muppet
Maths-loving squirrel joins TV show
First Minister Peter Robinson and his deputy Martin McGuinness were introduced to a maths-loving squirrel yesterday as the latest inhabitant in Northern Ireland's own take on Sesame Street.
Sesame Tree, the Belfast branch of the popular US children's TV show, unveiled the new resident as it launched its second series following a successful first outing.
Teaming up with the muppet stars of series one - Hilda and Potto - is Archie, a three-year-old squirrel who loves maths.
Named after Archimedes, Archie and the rest of the gang inside the gnarly Sesame Tree will be entertaining an even wider audience of youngsters.
While the first run of educational mini documentaries was made for BBC Northern Ireland, the second is going national on children's station CBeebies. Sesame Tree is produced by Belfast-based Sixteen South Television in conjunction with Sesame Workshop, the not-for-profit organisation behind Sesame Street. The project is funded by the International Fund for Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen.
Sixteen South's founder and Sesame Tree's executive producer Colin Williams said: "Following the success of Sesame Tree's first series on BBC Northern Ireland, we're delighted that our second series has been acquired by and produced for CBeebies. Bringing this second series to life has been a lot of fun.
"The show is rooted in Sesame Street's approach to producing compelling educational content which helps children to learn and reach their full potential - along with great humour, wonderful new music and the sheer entertainment provided by our Muppet characters.
"I'm thrilled that Sesame Tree, which was made for and by the people of Northern Ireland, has been taken by CBeebies for broadcast to the whole of the UK. The programme continues to show contemporary life here in Northern Ireland and addresses issues such as respecting differences, sharing and dealing with new experiences such as going to school for the first time - things that are really important for young children not just in Northern Ireland but everywhere."
Dr Charlotte Cole, senior vice president at Global Education for Sesame Workshop, visited Belfast for Tuesday's series launch.
"Sesame Workshop is committed to developing innovative, engaging and above all educational content which reaches children, parents, teachers and caregivers through a range of media - from TV shows to classrooms to community outreach programmes," she said.
"On Sesame Tree, we have worked in collaboration with local researchers, education experts and production partners in Northern Ireland, to create resources which focus on social inclusion, encouraging children to develop as individuals and as members of the larger community. We believe that Sesame Tree will have a long term, positive impact on how today's young children perceive the world around them and their own potential role in that world."