Sooty is 70 this year and is celebrating with a new tv series and live theatre tour. There’s also plans for him to star in his own blockbuster movie. Wow! Talk about “Izzy Wizzy, let’s get busy!”
Bought on Blackpool pier by puppeteer Harry Corbett in 1948, he made his tv debut in 1952 and was in black and white.
Nowadays he’s in glorious colour. It’s only his girlfriend, Soo who’s still in black and white.
No one knows how a mute bear, a squeaky dog and a whingeing panda managed to negotiate endless rolling TV contracts, but it’s believed the Corbetts and currently, Richard Cadell, had a big hand in them.
At school we did Sooty impressions which consisted of keeping our mouths shut and nodding and shaking our heads quite a lot. No one ever said: “That’s not a bit like Sooty.”
Sometimes, we’d just raise our hand in the air and tap our collective fingers against our thumb and pretend it was naked Sooty.
I’d often run home from school to watch the playful Sooty practice jolly japes like hiding Sweep’s bones – which presumably explained why Sweep was so floppy?
Because Sooty couldn’t talk and Sweep could only squeak, one cannot help but wonder if Mr Corbett was just a very clever failed ventriloquist?
Only Sooty and the testcard girl have made successful long television careers out of not talking. Knowing this, it is surprising to see why he has remained so popular for so long.
But surely, now he is 70, he should finally grow up? He can’t keep hitting his dog with his wand, hiding other’s possessions or throw flour and spray water pistols into people’s faces in the guise of entertainment? How was he awarded an O.B.E. for doing these things? In real life, he’d be given an ASBO.
Asked if he was ever gonna retire and finally marry his long-term girlfriend, Soo, he kept all his cards close to his chest and just remained very quiet.