By Daniel Bradley
At the request of the children’s channel, PBS Kids, Ratko Mladic, the former military commander and genocidal war criminal, has been given a seven hour supervised release from his trial at the Hague tribunal to film his appearance as a celebrity guest in a highly anticipated episode of Sesame Street.
Mladic, the Serbian warlord responsible for the Srebrenica massacre in which eight thousand Bosnian Muslims were slaughtered, will appear alongside Elmo in a sketch about hats. Against his will, Mladic will be escorted to and from the studio by twelve heavily armed international security officers.
The Hague gave permission to PBS to use Mladic in their ‘celebrity guest’ segment of the week as part of a broad-minded educational outreach initiative.
‘We don’t feel we should be talking down to children,’ says Sesame Street producer Jon Cunniff, ‘We’re sick of T.V. being dumbed down for kids. Children are much more discerning and perceptive than people think; they can be surprisingly understanding when confronting adult matters either in books, television or in real life.’
At first, the directors of Sesame Street were concerned that Mladic, having been commander of the Army of Republika Srpska for thirty years, wouldn’t necessarily harbour a transferrable skill set that could apply to light children’s entertainment. These doubts were soon allayed however, when Mladic arrived on set.
‘He was a delight to work with!’ brimmed the assistant director, Tony Bandwidth, ‘His improvisations kept the cast and crew on their toes!’
The Hawk understands that this is just one of the many inspired and playful improvisations that Mladic instigated mid-scene:
Elmo: Jee Ratko, I sure like your hat! Can I try it on?
Mladic: Why have you done this. I wish to die.
Elmo: Haha! You sure are funny, Ratko!
Mladic: I hear screams in the dark of the night.
The fact that Mladic is often referred to by western media as ‘the Butcher of Bosnia’ has prompted the design team at Sesame Street to create and develop a services cap for him to wear in his scene that bares the aforementioned phrase as a glaring insignia. A florescent pink font has been confirmed.
When the hat, which was kept a secret in order to surprise Mladic, was presented to him he began screaming and ‘hilariously writhing’ on the floor, clutching the hat.
‘Honestly,’ said the director of photography through tears of laughter, ‘Benedict Cumberbatch wasn’t this good!’