Mr Aart threatens to leave Sesamstraat

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Aart Staartjes, the actor who has been playing the grumpy Mr Aart in the Dutch version of Sesame Street for over twenty years, is threatening to leave the show over a programming dispute. He said this last week on the Coen & Sander radio show (Dutch). The ire of Mr Aart was awakened when the starting time of the show was moved around a lot by the NPS public broadcaster. Originally, Sesamstraat started at 6:30 pm, later it was moved to 6 pm, then 5:30 pm, even later to 5 pm, and, starting today, finally back to 5:30 pm, writes sesamstraatnaarhalfzeven.nl (Dutch).

Last week, an emotional Staartjes suggested on De Wereld Draait Door (Dutch) that the network was trying to deliberately kill off the show, which saw a marked decline from 500,000 to 30,000 viewers: “What idiot came up with the idea to program a show at five in the afternoon when the target audience are parents and their young children? Nobody is home at that time. And when I try to find out who’s responsible, everybody’s pointing at someone else.”

Sesamstraat was first broadcast in the Netherlands in 1976, at a time when the country disallowed commercial networks and there were only two or three public channels. Staartjes (1938) joined the show in 1984. He is also well-known for having presented the reception of Sinterklaas for 18 years.

(Photo by Photocapy, some rights reserved.)

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