As children’s favourite Sooty prepares for his 2019 UK tour, including a date at Blackpool’s Grand on Februay 18, the Gazette speaks to the famous bear’s right hand man, Richard Cadell.
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 fromthe audience and making it snow.
Sweep will be getting in the way with his own disastrous magic tricks most of which revolve around sausages.
It is an extensive tour –48 dates across four months –are live theatre performances what you and Sooty enjoy doing the most?
Performing live is what we love most.
Of course,making the television showis 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 tomeet fans old and new.
Last year saw Sooty celebrate his 70th birthday. This included a huge 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,actually. 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.
September 2018 also saw a brand-new series of ‘The Sooty Show’ on ITVBe.
Which celebrities did you have involved in this series and do you have a favourite celebrity moment from the new series?
We had Faye Tozer from Steps, John Challis –better known as Boyce in Only Fools and Horses, Peter Andre and Lisa Riley.
They were all amazing, but I have to say Lisa Riley put up with so much on the day of her shoot.
We literally submerged her in foam and she was a real trooper. I’d go as far as to say I think she got the worst pasting Sooty has ever given anyone.
It was a real laugh and resulted in one of my favourite episodes of all time.
Did Sooty and the gang get up to any backstage mischief whilst filming?
Ha ha! Of course they did! Particularly in the ice cream episode where we had to navigate a real live cow in the studio!
We also did an episode where we went back in time and Sweep met his ancestors -all 16 of them!
You can imagine the noise with all that squeaking -that was quite a day.
Sooty and Sweep then performed a sketch in November as part of ITV’s ‘We Are Most Amused and Amazed’, a birthday celebration for HRH Prince Charles.
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.
Sooty and Sweep have always been favourites of the Prince.
We also received a lovely letter saying how much he had enjoyed the performance.