Ulica Sezamkowa (pronounced Ulitsa Sezamkova) is the Polish co-production of Sesame Street, which first aired in 1996 on TVP2 and ran up until 2001. It was co-produced with EuroMedia TV. The show is no longer in production.
The Muppets remain the main attraction, but they speak Polish, have Polish names, and interact with actors playing Polish characters, including a grandfather whose bushy mustache makes him look like Poland's anti-communist hero and former president, Lech Walesa.
Actor Andrzej Buszewicz was chosen for the role by children who were shown a group of photographs and picked his face as the most grandfatherly. "It turned out that (the Walesa look-alike) was the average grandfather the children selected," said Andrzej Kostenko, who shot the 52-episode series.
The series had its debut in October, just after a version appeared in Russia in the Russian language. Before that, Polish children had only known the American version of Sesame Street with a man doing a voice-over and reading all the parts in Polish. Now, it's all Polish, from the dubbed dialogue to the Polish family that lives on the make-believe "Sezamkowa" Street.
There are even original Polish Muppets, designed in the United States by Jim Henson Productions based on thousands of Polish children's sketches.
The characters are:
- Bazyli the Dragon, a jovial, furry dragon.
- Beata, a lamb who thinks she knows everything.
- Pędzipotwór, a turquoise monster.
In one episode, Beata played a TV commentator, reporting on an orchestra's performance as if it were a sporting event. "The piano is moving ahead and the violin is coming in second," she said. "The oboe has done something wrong. It's getting a yellow card from the conductor."
Character Names and Voices
|English Character Name||Polish Character Name||Polish Voice Actor|
|Kermit the Frog||Kermit Żaba||Włodzimierz Press|
|Cookie Monster||Ciasteczkowy Potwór||Andrzej Arciszewski|
|Big Bird||Żółtodziób||Aleksander Mikołajczak|
|Telly Monster||Tolek||Ryszard Olesiński|
|Count von Count||Liczyhrabia||Grzegorz Wons|
|Prairie Dawn||Basia||Ilona Kuśmierska|
|Oscar the Grouch||Oskar Zrzęda||Jacek Bończyk|
|Herry Monster||Henrys||Jacek Czyż|
Beginning in 2006, the Polish kids' channel MiniMini began airing a one-hour Sesame programming block, Sezamkowy Zakątek, including dubbed versions of Elmo's World, Global Grover, Sesame English and Play with Me Sesame. In 2009, Sesame English was replaced with Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures.
- "Leisure time: Sesame Street has new international addresses", The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), 2 September 1996, page 10.