Company 'so lucky' to work on Sesame Street

Animated scene from Sesame Street short, showing Bert and Ernie
A still from one of the shorts, "Brain Food", created by A Productions [Sesame Workshop]

A production company says it felt like "the stars aligned" when it signed a contract to work with Sesame Street.

Bristol's A Productions, based on Colston Street in the city, has been working with the legendary, educational children's TV show for seven years.

Recently, A Productions created a series of videos about children's emotional wellbeing, featuring well-known characters from Sesame Street.

Managing director Katherine McQueen said it is "lovely" to work in children's TV, and feels "so lucky" to be working with Sesame Street.

'It's brilliant'

A Productions was created in 1986, and was asked to pitch to Sesame Street after the show came across its other productions.

Other children's TV programmes worked on by A Productions include 2000s favourite The Tweenies, Pip and Posy, and Jo Jo and Gran Gran - the latter of which was the first animated show centred around a Black British family.

Speaking about working in children's television, Ms McQueen told BBC Radio Bristol: "It's lovely, it's brilliant.

"When my kids were little, I had an audience, and they told me what they liked and didn't like.

"We were creating shows that you would see in the playground and kids had the toy, so you could get immediate feedback and know what you were doing was stuff children were really enjoying."

Puppeteers on the set of Sesame Street in 1970, acting Bert and Ernie
Sesame Street has been a children's TV staple for more than half a century [Getty Images]

The new series of shorts created by A Productions for Sesame Street focus on equipping children with ways of dealing with their own emotional wellbeing.

"It can be anything from breakdowns at bedtime to making sure you eat the right food and Bert and Ernie telling you to take deep breaths if you're feeling nervous," said Ms McQueen.

"It's a great way in engaging kids in dealing with their own feelings and equipping them with ways of dealing with their emotions."

Sesame Street first hit American airwaves in 1969, making its way across the pond two years later.

Something of US television institution, "educational consultants and doctors" lend expertise to script writers and members of the production crew to "make sure you're saying things the right way", Ms McQueen said.

Sesame Street is filmed in the New York City borough of Queens, with Ms McQueen given "the huge privilege" of walking the legendary street before the pandemic hit.

"I have been on Sesame Street and seen all the puppets doing their thing, and stood under the sign," she said, adding she met Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, and Abby Cadabby on set.

"We look forward to going out there again - it’s such a treat.

"There are quite a few animation companies in Bristol and, of course, we’ve got Aardman leading the way but there are so many other studios.

"During Covid, I think we were employing 170 people and a lot of those are local people, which is brilliant for us and brilliant for them."

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