So Sooty the infamous yellow bear that we should all know, if not you will think I am mad, come one it’s a yellow bear with his friend a talking dog and his girlfriend who is a panda. However, that being said Sooty means the absolute world to me. My fascination with Sooty began a long time ago (in a galaxy far far away), I had a VHS of Sooty & Co (yes I know that makes me sound ancient, Well I say I had a VHS it was actually my older brothers and used to watch it all the time and I mean constantly. It has 3 episodes on it ‘A Magical Voice’ ‘Bun Fight’ and ‘Camping Out’ Actually I used to fast forward through ‘Bun Fight’ as it used to scare me (I really mean it the idea of a pie in the face scares me, now I have lost count on the number of times I have been on the receiving end) I used to watch this video constantly (I also used to watch Thomas the Tank Engine)
I vaguely remember my parent coming home and my dad surprised me with another Sooty video, it was Sooty’s Magic Show, it was my first introduction to the current presenter Richard Cadell. The video used to have a Sooty on the front and that was my ‘first Sooty Puppet’ yep I used to talk to video, why I wasn’t locked up I will never know (I still wonder this, obviously). Eventually, I got my first Sooty & Sweep Puppet with Sooty dressed as a cowboy and Sweep dressed as a ‘native American I still to this day have no idea why this was a thing, I remember they had an audio thing in the heads that played the Sooty & Co theme and it used to drive my teachers insane until the politely asked my mother if I would stop bringing them in.
As time went on I got more and more Sooty VHS’s and watched them constantly, I don’t know what it was but I just loved watching them. I was then aware that Sooty was coming to a theatre near me the show was called ‘The Izzy Wizzy Holiday Show’ I vaguely remember the show, they gave out free magic wands to everyone it was presented by someone else (not a clue who) but that wasn’t a problem.
A few years later I went to see them live again it was ‘Sooty’s Magic Castle’ this show I remember enjoying however what sticks in my mind was that fact I saw a puppeteers head and it ruined it for me.
Now at the time, I was vaguely aware that the TV Show was still going on and Mathew Corbett had left and Richard Cadell was the host, I only watched the series when it was repeated. Now I should add while I am here Richard Cadell who currently owns the rights to Sooty, at the time he started presenting didn’t own the rights it was owned by a big corporation who looking back didn’t really get it, I hear that Richard used to campaign for them to go back to the roots of the show and they just ignored him and saying it was ‘old fashioned’. Looking back at the shows if you look at them on ‘their own terms’ it’s okay, a bearable however you can tell it wouldn’t last. ‘Sooty Heights’ (the first series of this era) is probably the best of the era, then they tweaked the format slightly (sticking with a hotel, however) and the first series of this is the last of the ‘Good Sooty’ then they changed it far too much the puppets looked hideous, Sooty looked his age.
Eventually, ITV decommissioned it as it was in such a poor state, the rights were sold and now we get onto the current era of Sooty. It was still Sooty from the Harry Corbett era just presented for the 21st century and it works I mean it really works, it’s just simple comedy. I have seen Sooty live 4 times during this era, the first show was at a local holiday park that I snuck into to watch the show, then many years late I watched Sooty live again in ‘Sooty’s Birthday Bake off’ which was amazing (I watched the show in February and the show is set on Sooty’s Birthday and I will admit the autistic person got a little angry as Sooty’s Birthday is in July)
I then saw Sooty again with ‘Sooty’s Magic Show’ and this will have to be hands down the best stage version of the show, I loved it. I remember 10 minutes in sitting back and going ‘yes this is Sooty’ I actually recently went to see the same show again and loved it a 2nd time.
So that brings me to now there is so much more I could talk about Sooty and what he means to me but that is a story for another day.