NDR North German Broadcasting
A new resident is moving to “Sesame Street”. The doll is called Elin, the girl is seven years old and uses a wheelchair. For the first time, a character with a disability strengthens the German puppet ensemble.
NDR program director Frank Beckmann:“The German ‘Sesame Street’ has been colorful and diverse for 50 years. Monsters and people of all skin and fur colors are at home here. We used to introduce children with disabilities to ‘Sesame Street’. Now the world of dolls is becoming a little more inclusive. Elin is brave and quick-witted. She is traveling in her wheelchair. For Elin, it is a tool that is simply part of her everyday life. She will enrich Sesame Street with her stories as a puppet figure”.
The new character was developed by the NDR editors “Sesamstraße” in cooperation with the Sesame Workshop. NDR produces the German “Sesame Street” and has been cooperating with the US Sesame Workshop for 50 years.
Stefan Kastenmüller, General Manager Sesame Workshop Europe: “With Elin, a girl who is interested in technology and crafts is moving into Sesame Street, who shows German children that the wheelchair is in no way an obstacle to growing up smart, strong and with a lot of joy. We are very much looking forward to laughing together and Studying with Elin on Sesame Street.”
The impetus for the new character came from the Equal Opportunities Officer at NDR, René Schaar. The development team was guided by the idea that it is equally important for all children to be represented on Sesame Street. People from the disabled community were involved in the development process to ensure the character was realistic and believable.
René Schaar, Equal Opportunities Officer at NDR: “Elin uses the wheelchair because she can’t walk that well. But this aspect shouldn’t dominate too much. Being disabled is just one of many characteristics that define Elin. As NDR, we are asked to use the potential of disabled people to make them visible and to contribute to the openness towards them. Elin helps us on this way.”
Elin – a doll with character
Elin is seven years old, she is interested in technology and likes numbers. Above all, she likes to do handicrafts and often finds surprising solutions to problems. Elin is bold and confident. She would even dare to repair a tricycle. When things get tricky, Elin doesn’t give up easily. But she becomes increasingly impatient and things don’t turn out the way she imagined. When Elin is engrossed in her handicrafts, she is hardly responsive. Then it happens to her that she gets muddled and swaps words in a funny way. In general, she often speaks (too) fast to follow her thoughts. Her best friend is Elmo.
Elin was built by the Jim Henson Company for the Sesame Workshop. The wheelchair comes from the NDR workshops. The puppet is played by Iris Schleuss and hand player Charlie Kaiser.
NDR is shooting new spots for the 50th season of the children’s cult series at Studio Hamburg until March 30th. Elin made her debut as a challenger to Cookie Monster in an episode of the new Sesame Street quiz show, Prime Climate. The series addresses environmental and climate protection issues in an entertaining and child-friendly way. The new episodes of “Sesame Street” can be seen from autumn 2023 in the ARD media libraryon KiKA, on NDR television and on sesamstrasse.de.
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Original content from: NDR Norddeutscher Rundfunk, transmitted by news aktuell