The show crossed the Atlantic 18 months after its US launch, but the BBC rejected it because of its “authoritarian aims” in trying to change children’s behaviour.
“This sounds like indoctrination, and a dangerous extension of the use of television,” said the head of children’s programmes at the time, Monica Sims.
Update: And if the Brits thought Sesame Street was trying to change children’s behavior then, they hadn’t seen anything yet:
The pedagogy hasn’t changed, but the look and tone of “Sesame Street” has evolved. Forty years on, this is your mother’s “Sesame Street,” only better dressed and gentrified: Sesame Street by way of Park Slope. The opening is no longer a realistic rendition of an urban skyline but an animated, candy-colored chalk drawing of a preschool Arcadia, with flowers and butterflies and stars. The famous set, brownstones and garbage bins, has lost the messy graffiti and gritty smudges of city life over the years. Now there are green spaces, tofu and yoga.
As the New York Times notes, in a phrase loaded with unintended irony, Sesame Street is “still a messianic show.” But what religion is it proselytizing?