Sooty, who celebrates his 75th year in showbiz in 2023, is famously tight-lipped when it comes to talking to the audience and will only whisper in the ear of Richard Cadell.
But, with some help from Richard, the famous yellow bear agreed to answer some questions from 10-year-old fan Adam.
Adam: How will you celebrate your 75th birthday?
Richard: He’s going to have a big party with Sweep and Soo and, yes, we’re going to invite all the Sooty fans to come to a big free event. And we’re also going to tour the country, all the major theatres, with a special 75th birthday show all about Sooty’s famous 75th birthday. It’s going to be a lot of laughs, lots of fun for everybody.
Adam: How does it feel not to have spoken to the audience for 75 years?
Richard: He is laughing now at that question. Sooty says he thinks it’s brilliant that he’s been able to have a career in showbusiness for 75 years, earned plenty of money to keep going on holidays, buying bones for Sweep, dresses for Soo, and he’s done all that without saying the word. I think that is a record so I think he’s very proud of himself being able to blag his way through showbusiness by not speaking. You’re a very clever little bear.
Adam: What was the most fun part of making the video for your Christmas single The Most Magical Time Of The Year! which raises money for Childline?
Richard: Well, Sooty says, without doubt, the funniest part was making it snow. Because when we actually filmed the Christmas video, it was a very hot day in the summer. And we had to get Santa Claus and the reindeers to bring a special snow machine that threw out seven and a half tonnes of snow during the making of that video. Because everything you can see that looks like a winter wonderland, actually was a lovely green field on a sunny day. So all the snow in the trees, everything is all pretend snow. And it was amazing to watch it.
Adam: How do you spend Christmas?
Richard: We really love a proper Christmas. So Soo will help with the cooking – we don’t let Sweep anywhere near the kitchen. And Sooty is very, very good. He lays the table, he puts the Christmas crackers out and puts the decorations out, his best behaviour Christmas Day. And we’ll have a lovely Christmas dinner and we’ll watch a film. But we love a proper Christmas. And Christmas is a very special time. It’s a magical time. For everyone. It’s just a chance for people to, you know, really get caught up in all sorts of wonderful magical things. And there’s nothing more magic than Sooty, so we have a really lovely day.
Adam: Did you enjoy doing panto last year with Craig Revel Horwood?
Richard: I absolutely loved it. Don’t believe what you see on Strictly – he is the nicest man, not the slightest bit cruel like he is on Strictly sometimes. And we had such a laugh together on the stage.
Adam: What’s the most difficult magic trick you had to learn?
Richard: We’ve learned a really very difficult magic trick, which we’re going to do this year in pantomime, Sooty and myself together. We are going to take a full size motorcycle. We’re going to suspend it in the middle of the stage mid air. I’m going to be on the back. You’re (Sooty) gonna say the magic spell. And that bicycle is going to vanish in front of everyone’s eyes, in the middle of the air. And then we’re going to make it reappear again, seconds later somewhere else. That’s the most difficult magic trick we’ve ever done.
Adam: How do you make Sooty’s car fly?
Richard: I saw a magician make a little car float in the air when I was probably no older than you, Adam. And I thought what a wonderful magic trick it was. So I always remembered it. And then when I was thinking about magic tricks for Sooty, I remembered the flying car. And I had it specially built in America by the same people that make magic tricks for a very famous magician called David Copperfield. And they made the car fly and the little Sooty inside the car move. And they made the car special enough that somebody from the audience could sit in it as it went up and down. So yes, a very special trick, but I can’t tell you how it works. Because Sooty is a member of The Magic Circle and the golden rule with magicians is you never tell people how the magic works. Otherwise, there’s no magic.
Adam: What are the ingredients in the Sooty petrol?
Richard: Well, I’m not sure. But let me tell you about Sooto petrol. In 1954 or 55, Harry Corbett made an episode called Sooty’s Garage. And if you go on YouTube, you can see it. It’s one of the very first TV shows that Sooty ever made and Sooty drives a little car and he pulls up in the garage and the petrol pump is Sooto. So we remembered it from that show. And that’s why when we recreated it, you know, 60-70 years later, we called it Sooto. So I don’t know what’s in it. But I know Harry Corbett knows because he invented it 60 years ago, but it works obviously.
Adam: Was it exciting to have Sooty Land created?
Richard: It was incredible. And Matthew Corbett, which is Harry Corbett’s son, the creator of Sooty, said that if his father Harry could have seen what has happened to Sooty, he’d be so proud. I think the Crealy adventure park in Exeter did a brilliant job. And everybody that’s a fan of Sooty gets to go on those rides, meet Sooty every day, and see the Sooty show every day. And it’s fantastic. I never thought it would happen.
Adam: Will Sooty be partnering with any online games?
Richard: We are experimenting with a little online thing this Christmas. But for me, Sooty doesn’t really belong in the CGI world just yet. I think that’s part of his charm, that he retains this live action thing. But I’m open to all sorts, anything that breathes life into the little fella and gives him, you know, an audience – as long as we stay true to his character I’m open for anything.
– Sooty and Richard Cadell will appear in Golidlocks and the Three Bears at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from December 10. Download Sooty’s Christmas single The Most Magical Time Of The Year at magicaltime.co.uk. All proceeds go to Childline.