Sooty and his friends sweep into Hunstanton
After celebrating his 70th birthday in 2018, the nation’s favourite yellow magic bear Sooty will be coming to Hunstanton’s Princess Theatre on Sunday, April 5, at 11am and 2.30pm.
Sooty had an equally exciting 2019, with a busy tour and numerous television appearances. He’ll be launching into 2020, joined by Sweep, Soo and his TV pal, for his live ‘Sooty’s Magic Show’.
Here we chat with Sooty’s TV presenter of more than 20 years Richard Cadell, to see why ‘Sooty’s Magic Show’ is an unmissable treat for the whole family…
What an amazing and busy year you had in 2019 with a nationwide tour and yourself and Sooty making numerous television appearances, and there’s no sign of slowing down now! What kind of mischief can audiences expect from Sooty, Sweep and Soo in Sooty’s Magic Show?
This is Sooty doing what he does best – magic. So, the audience can expect to be saying “Izzy whizzy let’s get busy” a great deal! Sooty will be performing some amazing tricks including sawing a lady in half, floating a child from the audience and making it snow!
Sweep will be getting in the way with his own disastrous magic tricks, most of which revolve around sausages.
You’ll be joined on the tour by special guests, circus stars Michael Jordan and Fantasie De La Nuit. What is their role in the show?
Michael Jordan is an amazing circus artist and a fabulous magician. So, with Sooty’s help he will be performing some large-scale Las Vegas style illusions along with some incredible juggling and circus tricks.
Fantasie De La Nuit will allow Sooty and Sweep to perform some incredible tricks using the magic of ultraviolet light. It has to be seen to be believed.
It is an extensive tour – 18 theatres across two months – are live theatre performances what you & Sooty enjoy doing the most?
Performing live is what we love most.
Of course, making the television show is a lot of fun but Sooty has always been at his best in front of a live audience where he can make not only the children laugh, but all the adults too.
Plus, after each performance there is a chance for everybody to meet Sooty and it’s always such a pleasure to meet fans old and new!
You made a lot of television appearances in the second half of 2019, do any of them stand out as a favourite?
We’ve done so much but appearing on BBC’s Celebrity Pointless was lots of fun.
General knowledge hasn’t ever been my forte, so I was thrilled that I was able to answer most of the questions and made it right down to the last two.
I was there with Sooty, but he was no help – as usual he didn’t say a word!
In 2018 Sooty had a huge 70th birthday celebration on Blackpool Pier, Sooty’s birthplace. What was it like having Sooty’s biggest fans and best friends all in one place to celebrate on that day?
It was absolutely amazing and overwhelming. There is so much love for this little bear. He has been at the heart of so many people’s childhoods over the last 70 years. Over 1,500 people turned up to celebrate – every age and generation. It just felt like one huge family.
Sooty & Sweep then performed a sketch as part of ITV’s ‘We Are Most Amused and Amazed’, a birthday celebration for HRH Prince Charles, who also celebrated his 70th birthday in 2018.
What was it like for Sooty to perform for and shake paws with Prince Charles?
I think it was possibly the highlight of Sooty’s career. It was just an amazing experience to be there at the London Palladium at the request of Prince Charles.
It turns out that Sooty and Sweep have always been personal favourites of the Prince. After the performance, Sooty was told in no uncertain terms that he was not to use his water pistol – but I can’t say he wasn’t tempted!
The Prince was on great form and after he had shaken Sooty and Sweep’s paws he asked them if there was a person hiding beneath them! Sooty, as ever, remained silent.
We also received a lovely personal letter saying how much he had enjoyed Sooty and Sweep’s performance.
You have to remember that the Royals were also children once and Sooty brought magic to their childhood too.
You’ve been Sooty’s TV presenter for over 20 years – how has the journey been for you and do you have a personal highlight?
The last 20 years have flown by – I’ve just had a ball. It really was a life-changer for me and I have loved every second of it. I feel honored and privileged to be trusted with such an iconic and well-loved character.
There have been so many highlights, but I think the most humbling thing is to see the power that Sooty has to bring hope and happiness to those less privileged than ourselves.
We have raised significant funds for charities and we have made a real difference to certain people’s lives. That is one element that I never expected, and it has been wonderful to see Sooty make a difference.
Sooty is the longest running children’s television show in the world, what do you think the secret to Sooty’s longevity is?
Simplicity. After all he is a teddy bear and most children receive a teddy bear as their first ever toy so it’s very easy to see why children fall in love with Sooty very quickly.
And now of course it’s the grandparents that are introducing their grandchildren to the same little teddy bear that made them laugh also.
And it hasn’t changed, I’m still performing the same routines that Harry Corbett performed 70 years ago, and they still make children scream with laughter. In this ever-changing world I think people find it very reassuring that some things remain the same.
After the tour, what does the rest of 2020 and the future hold for The Sooty Show?
As well as preparing for a new television series we will be continuing the live shows. You can see the dates on our website www.thesootyshow.co.uk.
The Princess Theatre box office can be contacted on 01485 532252.