Sesame Street International: Pakistani Edition Of Iconic Kids' Show Launched
The news that Sesame Street is to launch a Pakistani edition funded by the US agency for international development USAid might seem surprising for a show that after 42 years and 4,295 episodes is so closely associated with America.
But in fact the perennial children's TV favourite has been launching varied and imaginative international editions for years - and now has more than 20 custom-made franchises.
And that doesn't count the dozens more countries in which those editions are broadcast, and the some 140 nations in which the Sesame Workshop education initiative works.
Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that the Sesame Street magic works so well overseas. Its playful, colourful characters have always crossed divides of race, religion and, in some cases, species - and it's hard to imagine how any child in the world could fail to fall in love with Elmo.
Still, the US takes spreading the word of Sesame Street quite seriously. It is funding the new Pakistani version with $20m over four years, and hopes that it will help promote health, hygiene and education in a country where a third of children still do not go to school.
The four-year project will result in 78 television episodes and 52 television episodes in four additional languages. The team will also create 130 radio episodes in 5 languages and create an interactive website, 30 educational school fairs, 78 children's songs, 600 live puppet shows and 600 mobile screenings.
"The key areas of the show will focus on language and literacy, maths and science, a well as respect for diversity," said Faizan Peerzada of the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, which is working with the US producers of the project.
The show (named Sim Sim Hamara) will be tweaked for the local audience. In particular the show will also aim to increase tolerance towards women and ethic minorities in Pakistan where drop-out rates for children who have entered school are particularly severe among girls: only 22% of Pakistan girls complete primary school, the show's producers point out.
As a result the show's star is a little girl who captains her school cricket team, and all of the other characters will be original creations - except for Elmo.
Take a look at some of the amazing and creative intros for Sesame Street's many international editions below.