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Sesame Tree

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Genre  Educational
No. of seasons  2
Running time  15 minutes
Final episode date  2013
Number of episodes  40
Predecessor  Sesame Street
6.1/10 IMDb

Theme music composer  Duke Special
No. of episodes  40
First episode date  5 April 2008
Number of seasons  2
Networks  BBC, CBeebies, BBC Two
Sesame Tree Sesame Tree Early Years the organisation for young children
Country of origin  Northern Ireland United Kingdom United States
Similar  Sesame Street, Hikayat Simsim, Shara'a Simsim, Sesame Park, Zhima Jie

Sesame Tree is the UK version of Sesame Street made entirely in Northern Ireland, is a children's television series produced by Belfast-based production company Sixteen South and Sesame Workshop. The first episode aired on BBC Two in Northern Ireland on 5 April 2008 with the first series subsequently airing nationwide on CBeebies in August 2008.

Contents

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In November 2010, a second series was launched, and broadcast on CBeebies from 22 November 2010.

Production

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The project has been under consideration since 2004; in Sesame Workshop’s presentation on their international projects, Northern Ireland was listed as a goal, with the intent of ‘building the Sesame model for respect and understanding curriculum across the sectarian divide."

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In 2006, The American Ireland Fund provided support to realise the project. Additional funding was secured from the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and the Northern Ireland Fund for Reconciliation. Funding for the second series is provided by IFI and Northern Ireland Screen.

Format

The initial series of Sesame Tree comprised 20 seventeen-minute programmes, aimed at an audience of 3–6 year olds. Following an format similar to that of The Hoobs, it is composed of original puppet segments featuring Muppets created specifically for the series, local mini-documentaries depicting a child’s eye view of life in Northern Ireland, and classic Muppet segments from the Sesame Street library.

The common area of the programme is the "Sesame Tree" – a hollow tree where children can ask questions and have them answered; the Sesame Tree is the programme's analogue to the street in the original Sesame Street programme. The residents of the Tree are Potto; Hilda and Archie, a new arrival for the second series.

All the characters were developed by Sesame Workshop and Sixteen South, and the Muppets for the series were built by The Jim Henson Company in New York, who worked with exclusively local writers and Muppet Performers. Martin P. Robinson assisted in auditioning and training local performers, who include Lesa Gillespie, Paul Currie, Michael McNulty, Mike Smith, Helen Sloan and Alana Kerr. The Northern Irish science fiction writer Ian McDonald has contributed scripts to the series, along with local writing trio Kieran Doherty, Danny Nash and Ian Nugent. Each of these four writers has written five episodes each, comprising the full 20 episodes of the first series.

Speaking at the launch of Sesame Tree’s second series, Executive Producer Colin Williams said of Sesame Tree: "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, Global Education for Sesame Workshop, said of the programme: "...we have worked in collaboration with [experts 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."

The production also coincides with Tar ag Spraoi Sesame, an Irish-dubbed package of Play With Me Sesame, airing on TG4 in Ireland. The title music for the programme was composed by Northern Ireland artist Duke Special.

Characters

  • Potto (performed by Paul Currie and Michael McNulty) – The main character of the series. He is a book-loving inventor who likes to "potter" around the devices. Potter is best friends with Hilda the Hare and is the cousin of Telly Monster. His puppet is the same AM Monster design that was used for Humphrey from Sesame Street.
  • Hilda (performed by Lesa Gillespie) – An Irish Hare who is best friends with Potto.
  • Claribelle (performed by Helen Sloan in Series 1, Alana Kerr in Series 2) – A red bird.
  • Bookworms – A bunch of Bookworms live amongst Potto's books.
  • Weatherberries – A bunch of singing fruit. They often announce the weather whenever Hilda asks what the weather will be like today.
  • Archie (performed by Mike Smith) – A bespectacled red squirrel who loves math. He was introduced in Season Two.
  • Series 1

    1. The Bookworms Move House
    2. Food for Thought
    3. Booga Granny Hare!
    4. The Share Necessities
    5. Big Hare Day
    6. Finders Keepers
    7. A Present for Claribelle
    8. CSI Sesame Tree
    9. Beezer Broccoli Birthday Cake
    10. Arty Party
    11. Turn and Turn About
    12. Practice Makes Perfect
    13. Potto's Really Rockin' Pocket Shoes
    14. One Wee Minute
    15. Hilda's Two Birthdays
    16. Same Difference
    17. Potto's Perfect Picnic
    18. Sad Hare Blues
    19. The Goldfish Tree
    20. A Very Special Visitor

    Series 2

    1. Hilda's Beezer Buddies
    2. Best of Furry Friends
    3. Let's Have a Party
    4. Run Potto Run
    5. Out of Tune
    6. Super Squirrel's Super Glasses
    7. Potto's Heard of Cows
    8. Potto's Movie Mania
    9. Squirrel's Day
    10. It's Not Me It's You
    11. Potto's Never Ending Story
    12. Pizza Perfection
    13. Scaredy Squirrel
    14. Treemendous
    15. The Trying Game
    16. Promises, Promises
    17. Squirrel School
    18. The Big Sleepover
    19. Yes We Can
    20. Potto's Big Day Out

    Cast

  • Paul Currie – Potto
  • Lesa Gillespie – Hilda
  • Alana Kerr – Maisie the Weatherberry, Goliath the Bookworm (Series 1), Claribelle (Series 2)
  • Sarah Lyle – Samson the Bookworm, Weatherberries
  • Michael McNulty – Weatherberries
  • Helen Sloan – Claribelle, Weatherberries (Series 1)
  • Mike Smith – Archie
  • References

    Sesame Tree Wikipedia


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