NTA 2 Channel 5 was unarguably the greatest television station for kids in the 90s.
At a time when it was only government stations that were on the air, NTA 2 Channel 5 was the dopest TV station for kids. From 4 pm on weekdays, kids who grew up in Lagos would watch the colour bars transform into the station’s logo.
After the usual announcement, it would be a world of fun for the next 2 hours. The innovative and creative block of programming would open the world to many Nigerian kids. While most of what was shown during this period were classics, the greatest of them all had to be Sesame Street.
Produced by PBS, the educative and fun 60-minute programme would enchant Nigerian kids. Sesame Street had an amazing mixture of characters that attracted us.
Characters such as Big Bird, Grover, Ernie & Bert, Barkley, Honkers, Don Music, Oscar the Grouch, Aloysius Snuffleupagus, The Bear family, Cookie Monster, Count Dracula among others were some of our favourites.
Sesame Street was a variety show that had a mixture of puppets, humans and animated characters. The show was an extended mix of funny skits.
No doubt the most famous of all the characters was Big Bird. The giant bird was the most iconic character from the Sesame Street brand and the favourite of many children. His imaginary friend Aloysius Snuffleupagus also gave us laughs too.
Coming close to the Big Bird were Ernie & Bert, two close friends that are always arguing about something and everything. Despite their constant bickering, the two are inseparable.
The show also had the Cookie Monster who was well…a cookie monster who had a huge appetite. Another iconic character Kermit the frog who appeared in many shows apart from Sesame Street in the 80s and 90s.
Those days were surely fun but the legacy of Sesame Street is more than just making kids laugh. The show made education fun. The generation that watched Sesame Street learnt a lot from the show because the producers knew how to balance fun and knowledge.
Growing up, Sesame Street did a whole lot for us more than our nursery schools. This wasn’t by accident. The producers of Sesame Street to impact kids with learning outside of dull classrooms.
“Sesame Street was built around a single, breakthrough insight: that if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them,” wrote Malcolm Gladwell on the iconic TV show.
In the book, ‘Children and Television: Lessons Learned From Sesame Street‘ released in 1974, one of the main aims of the show was to “the fundamental purpose of preparing children for school.“
And Sesame Street did just that for we kids who watched it here in Nigeria.
Sesame Street first aired in the United States on November 10, 1969. It is still on air till today on HBO. Sesame Street stopped airing on the NTA network circa 2000 as private TV stations sprang up.
The legacy of Sesame Street greatly influenced Nigerian millennials. Whatever you didn’t understand in school, Big Bird was there to explain it to you with humour.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte