Following a very exciting 2018 in which the nation’s favourite yellow magic bear Sooty celebrated his 70th birthday, this year seess him joined by Sweep, Soo and his TV pal Richard Cadell for a brand-new spring 2019 theatre tour.
Sooty’s Magic Show is at The Town House, Hamilton, on Thursday, April 11, at 11am and 2.30pm.
Ahead of the show we caught up with Richard, Sooty’s TV presenter of 20 years ...
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.
Are live theatre performances what you and 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.
Sooty & Sweep performed a sketch in November as part of ITV’s ‘We Are Most Amused and Amazed’, a birthday celebration for HRH Prince Charles, who also celebrated his 70th birthday last year. 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. We also received a lovely personal letter saying how much he had enjoyed Sooty and Sweep’s performance.
Has performing for Prince Charles boosted Sooty’s social standing?
Well Sooty is already a recipient of the OBE you have to remember. That was, of course, in Harry Corbett’s day. So you could say that Sooty has been a friend of the Royal Family for many years already. Maybe I’m biased but I consider Sooty to be a legend and national treasure in any event!
What did Prince Charles say to Sooty and Sweep when they met after the show? Were they on their best behaviour?
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!
You’ve now been Sooty’s TV presenter for 20 years – how has the journey been for you and do you have a personal highlight of the 2018 70th birthday year?
The last 20 years have flown by – I’ve just had a ball. I feel honoured 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.
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.
• Sooty’s Magic show is at The Town House, Hamilton, on Thursday, April 11. See South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture for tickets.