This year marks the 70th birthday of British icon, Sooty – a children’s TV favourite since 1952
This little yellow puppet is well known amongst children and adults alike; but where did he come from?
Sooty first appeared on TV during Talent Night on the BBC and became a regular on Saturday Special after winning the public vote. He was so well loved that between 1955 and 1992, he starred in his very own TV show called The Sooty Show – along with co-star, Sweep. Over the course of the show, new characters were introduced such as Kipper the cat, Butch the dog and Soo the Panda. Sooty’s cousin, Scampi, also came to join the gang!
Between 1993 and 1998, a new show called Sooty and Co. began and was followed by another, Sooty Heights, which aired on CITV between 1999 and 2000. The Sooty Show was reintroduced between 2001 and 2004 and is currently on air having been updated in 2011 and features Sooty, Sweep, Soo and new presenter Richard Cadell.
Sooty was first discovered in a novelty shop by Harry Corbett who spent seven shillings and a sixpence on him, which would be about £13 in today’s currency. Harry used Sooty (then called Teddy) to entertain his two children whilst on a family holiday. He got his new name, Sooty, when his ears and nose were blackened with soot before appearing on Talent Night.
When Harry was taken ill following a heart attack in 1975, he passed Sooty down to his son, Matthew Corbett. Matthew continued to work with Sooty until 2008 when Richard Cadell bought the licensing rights for Sooty and has now taken over as The Sooty Show’s presenter.
Sooty famously doesn’t speak, he whispers in the ear of his co-stars. He’s a very mischievous bear, often getting himself into bother and causing trouble with his friends. He’s (usually) a dab hand with a magic wand and, despite not being able to speak, his catchphrase before he does a magic trick is “izzy, wizzy, let’s get busy”. Sooty has also been known to squirt water in one or two faces!
The nation loves Sooty so much that there have been celebrations taking place throughout the UK to celebrate his birthday! This Morning revealed Sooty’s new plaque on North Pier in Blackpool celebrating his 70 years, and a special Birthday Party was held in July in the North Pier Theatre, which featured entertainment and a special live performance of The Sooty Show.
The RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) are also celebrating Sooty’s 70th birthday by aiming to find 2,018 homes for Sooty boxes. Sooty has supported this charity with his co-stars since the 60s and this is a great way to continue supporting blind and partially sighted people.
In July, The Sooty Show also did a 24 hours live stream of Sooty episodes to celebrate.
Everyone loves Sooty, and you can tell as lots of people have been sending him birthday wishes all over social media – Including a message from Iron Maiden!
Happy birthday, Sooty!
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