CABSAT 2015: Iftah Ya Simsim to return to MENA TV screens in 2015

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 11 March 2015

The return of Iftah Ya Simsim, an Arabic kids' TV show based on Sesame Street, has been highlighted for its role in enhancing Arabic literacy at the annual meeting of the Joint Program Production Institute (JPPI) of the Gulf States.

The new Iftah Ya Simsim castThe new show, currently in production at Abu Dhabi's twofour 54 media zone by the specially created Bidaya Media, is set to launch later this year. It was a trailblazing localised Arabic children's television show when it first appeared across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at the end of the 1970s and ran throughout the 1980s.

"We have always been committed to creating Arabic TV content that truly reflects the traditions and heritage of the GCC, including the first ever Iftah Ya Simsim back in 1979," said Dr Ali Al-Rayyes, director general of the GCC Joint Program Production Institute.

"With the comeback of the show, we feel proud to be associated with the previous success of Iftah Ya Simsim and look forward to working hand in hand with Bidaya Media to bring to life the characters that impacted the elder and younger generations alike. With what we have seen, the new Iftah Ya Simsim is poised to captivate the hearts of Arab audiences once again as it is brought to life by local talent and experts," he added.

The show will bring back the popular local characters of No'man and Melsoon, as well as introduce new characters such as Shams and Gargur.

Dubai's Blink Studios leads on the production of Iftah Ya Simsim's studio segments from script to screen as well as post-production, JPPI is producing the show's live action films and dubbed materials, while Lammtara Art Production EST is responsible for producing the semi-animated book story segments.

"It is an absolute pleasure for Bidaya Media and myself to be part of the efforts that brings back one of the most popular Arabic education TV series in the Arab world," said Dr Cairo Arafat, managing director of Bidaya Media, the new Arabic educational content development company overseeing the project

"As a member of our Education Advisory Committee, JPPI persistently strives to provide us with guidance on how to enrich the programme's Arabic literacy and encourage positive social practices and values to support children's acquisition of healthy lifestyles," he added.