TV Cream

TV: S is for...

Sesame Street

THESE ARE the people in your neighbourhood. In your neighbourhood. The people that you meet each day. Never went away, although you’ll be hard pressed to find it on UK telly today, but latterday episodes saw a vexing decline in psychedelic animations, especially that one that went inside a pinball machine (with accompanying Fool’s Gold-eque jazz-funk melody – “Onetwothree four five, sixseveneight nine ten, eleventwelve!”). And the classic “One of these kids is doing his own thing; now it’s time to play our game” brainstretcher. And JIM HENSON him very self as the falling over chef (“Niiiiiiine strawberry deseeeeeeeerts!” Crash!). Not forgetting the silent-film painter (“I’m gonna paint a seven!”) whose creations ended up on the arse of a fat bloke or a steam roller (“My seven!!!”), and that meaningless number at the start. We liked the indefatigable long-armed Yoda-voiced blue thing Grover, especially as comedy waiter serving generic blue-faced customer in Charlie’s restaurant, less so when in conversation with overcute American kiddies: “Say Jon-Jon…do you know what co-operation is?” Plus a raincoated Kermit in “fast-breaking” news reports: “We’ve just heard that Humpty-Dumpty has had a great fall…” and gameshow host Guy Smiley and Billy Joelesque piano-headbanging musician Don Music. Bert and Ernie (names inspired by two characters in Frank Capra’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE) and Cookie Monster (also Errol Brown-alike Gordon) remained jovial constants, but Big Bird was always a top in-need-of-a-slap wanker. Episodes where news-stand owner MR “MR LOOPER” HOOPER died, and where they finally got to see inept mammoth-thing MR SNUFFLEUPAGUS remain vaguely seminal.



  1. THX Kling Klang

    October 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I used to like watching this for about twenty minutes, but at the time a whole hour of the show felt like an outrageous overindulgence on their part so I never had the patience for a whole episode.

    The Pointer Sisters sang the pinball number count song, incidentally. I saw the controversial Katy Perry clip and was sad to see the modern version didn’t even have a proper set anymore, just sketchy drawings for the puppets and presenters to act in front of. Surely the merchandising money could pay for something better?

  2. Paul S

    March 19, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Ah. That poor Chef.

    It was supposed to be slapstick, but it used to upset me no end. All I could think was that this poor sod had spent hours slaving over a hot stove to make those 7 marvellous mince pies, only for all his time and effort to be ruined by a senseless accident.

  3. Des E

    April 21, 2013 at 7:21 am

    “Big Bird was always a top in-need-of-a-slap wanker.”

    No doubt that opinion will be reinforced by the second of these two clips featuring PBS news anchor (and one-time BBC reporter) Robert “Robin” MacNeil:

  4. Glenn Aylett

    October 21, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    If you lived in the Border region from the late seventies to the late eighties. Sesame St was on every day in the summer holidays, often following TV AM. Not a problem, as children liked the fact it was American and had Big Bird, and also it taught unusual things like translating English words into Spanish and vice versa( possibly as America had millions of Hispanic residents). Good oh and still around today, though not on ITV in the holidays.

  5. Richardpd

    October 21, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    I remember it was n Channel for by the mid 1990s, but they haven’t shown it for years.

    It was one show I would watch when I had a free afternoon at college.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    October 23, 2021 at 11:18 am

    @richardpd, Sesame Street was a godsend to smaller ITV regions, who could fill up an hour of television every day during the school holidays quite cheaply. It was quite a good show for smaller children and still around in America. Can’t recall the last time I saw it on British television, though, I suppose the switch away from American programmes by ITV in the nineties probably explains why.

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