is a children's television show
in the Netherlands
, spun-off American program Sesame Street
A blue Big Bird
-like character, approx. age 3-years-old, who is Big Bird's nephew. Pino is now played by Renée Menschaar
, and was from 1982 to 1989 played by Lejo Dijkgraaf
Tommie is six years old. He is clever, energetic and creative. Tommie can write a few words, including his own name, which he is very proud of. He is famous for his own made up exclamations, like "Poe hee!" (approximately pronounced as: pooh hey) and "Hatseflats!". In the 2005/2006 season, Tommie got his own racing car.
Tommie has been around since the beginning in 1976. The first Tommie puppet was made by producer Ton Hasebos from an old fur coat. He was a teddy bear-like creature that walked on fours. Through the years he evolved from a 'teddy bear' kind of creature to a more doglike animal. Tommie's recent look, which was introduced in 1981, was designed by the Jim Henson company. The recently refurbished Tommie has a lot more fur in his face.
Tommie has had a few different performers, including Stef van der Linden in 1976 and Martin Pragt in 1978. In 1979, Bert Plagman became Tommie's performer, after sharing the part with Martin. Renée Menschaar (Pino's performer) and Judith Broersen (Purk's performer) both started their Sesamstraat careers as Tommie's right hand. Nowadays, Daphne Zandberg performs Tommie's right hand.
Representing the psychological age of a six-year-old, Ieniemienie is the oldest of the group. She is very clever and smart-alecky, and sometimes she tends to be a little bossy. Her best friend is Tommie
. Being the smallest person on Sesamstraat, she often hangs out with Pino
. Ienie is famous for her giggle, as well as her signature movements like scrunching her nose when she's angry or raising her shoulders when she's confused.
Ieniemienie was introduced in 1980. She started out as a mouse who lived in a hole and was often searching for cheese. Through the years, when female emancipation wasn't as much as an issue on the street, her personality became more childlike and girlish.
The puppet has been refurbished a few times, but without drastic changes; except for the 1996 anniversary special, in which Ieniemienie's legs were shown for the first time, during a stiltwalking scene.
Ieniemienie's performer is Catherine van Woerden. Her arm rods are manipulated by either Marijke Koek or Lindai Boogerman.
Troel is a fluffy white girl poodle. She is very feminine and a little naïve, and she speaks in a high-pitched voice. Her best friend is Tommie
Troel was introduced during the second season in 1977 as the first girl Muppet to star with Tommie and Pino. She was designed to look like a girl version of Tommie.
Troel was performed by Marijke Boon.
Even though the viewers had no problems with her, the producers found her too feminine for a show that dealt with female emancipation, so she disappeared after a year. A newspaper article mentions another reason for her disappearance: her performer didn't get paid as much as the male performers.
Troel was replaced by Ieniemienie a couple of years later.
The Dutch word "Troel" means "dear" or "sweetheart" in a more informal, sometimes even negative way.
Purk is a baby piglet. She wears a diaper and a little bow in her ear. She is clumsy and messy and loves to get herself dirty. She is still learning how to talk, and she can't walk yet. She's taken care of by everyone on Sesamstraat. Everybody loves Purk.
Introduced in 2003, Purk is the newest of the Muppet characters, and she's very popular. She was created in order to introduce the subject of "a younger child in the family". It took three years for Sesame Workshop to approve the character: they felt that Purk should not be too fat due to the issue of obesity. The actual puppet was based on a drawing by Sesamstraat actor and mime artist Hakim Traïda.
Purk debuted in a Sesamstraat "Sinterklaas" special as a surprise. In the special, Tommie walks away from Sesamstraat after the adults gave his stuffed crocodile to Purk. Before the taping of the special, Sesamstraat organised a press convention about Purk's 'birth', hosted by Tommie and Ieniemienie. Purk came falling out of the sky.
Purk was designed by Ed Christie and built by Rollie Krewson.
Humans in Sesamstraat
- Buurman Baasje, an angry neighbour from the next street, hating being disturbed by the people (and especially the muppets) of Sesamstraat. His (nick)name means literally "Neighbour Bossy", being so called because in his first episode (in 2003) he encountered Tommie with the word "baasje". Since then everyone calls him like that, although his real name is Drommels. He is played by Martin van Waardenberg.
- Elvan (Elvan Akyldiz) was introduced in 1995, taking over the role of a teenage character.
- Frank (Frank Groothof) joined in 1983, in the role of a naughty young guy. Later he became more a kind of funny uncle towards the children.
- Gerda, (Gerda Havertong), joined in 1984, as a nice aunt. Since 1997 Gerda became a less seen character, while the actress Gerda Havertong took up the role of Gerda's sister Peetje, a funny Surinamese lady who is always using naughty tricks on everyone.
- Hakim (Hakim Traïda) joined in 1984. He is an often silent mime character, often in his own inserts. In his first episodes he never talked, but later he was more seen in stories in the street and spoke more.
- Lot (Lot Lohr) joined in 1988, taking over the role of a teenage character (often referred as "Lotje" by meneer Aart). Since 1995 she is more in the role of a working mother, often seen behind a laptop.
- Meneer Aart (Aart Staartjes) debuted in 1984. The idea was introducing a "snake in the paradise". Meneer Aart demanded to be called "Meneer Aart" (Mr. Aart). Although very clumsy, he saw himself as the most important man of the street. He was mostly grumbling at the muppet characters. Since the death of Lex, Aart has sometimes taken up the role of a grandpa. Just like the other characters he doesn't like Buurman Baasje. He always calls Pino "Piño".
- Paula (Paula Sleijp) joined in 1982. Her role is some kind of grandma, but since 1996 in a more stern way. In the 1990's Paula Sleijp also played the character of the Baroness, a silly and dumb lady with a French accent.
- Rik (Rik Hoogendoorn) debuted in 1993 as Mr. Aart's nephew (although he never calls Aart his uncle). Rik is a clumsy young man, trying to do silly inventions, which often do not work. He is also a thick man, who enjoys eating and hates sports.
- Sien (Sien Diels) was already in the first episode in 1976. She runs a store. In the first seasons she was often wearing overalls ans using tools, because of the focus on female emancipation.
- Lex (Lex Goudsmit), a grandpa, he died in 1999
History of the show
In 1992, the Amsterdam Artis Planetarium created a show called Sesamstraat en Melkweg
. In the show Pino, Tommie, Ieniemienie and Mr. Aart travel through the galaxy. After finding the sun
, they don't know their way back to Earth. They become friends with Flonkertje, a little star who directs them home. The show ran until 1996.
On 23 December 1999, the characters of the show went to the Paradiso in Amsterdam, and performed in front of a live audience with notable Dutch singers. Songs performed were written by Harry Bannink and Hennie Vrienten.
In the 6 October 2002 episode of Dutch radio show Antenne 2 (in the recurring Stemgeheim item), actress Renée Menschaar discussed her challenge of convincing producers that the character of Pino could be performed by a woman, while it had traditionally been a man's role.
In April 2003, Sesamstraat en Melkweg was brought back to the planetarium, digitally remastered. It played until September of that year.
For Sesamstaat, Rubotoys
is a licensor since February 2005.