Monday, July 11, 2011


In a world full of troubles and suffering, it's cheering to read today that the naughty bear Sooty is to return to British Television. 

The much-loved  puppet was first seen on British television in 1952 with  his creator Harry Corbett. His son Matthew Corbett took over the show in 1978. It has recently been announced that Sooty will star in a new 26 part production. The new Sooty Show has been updated to satisfy modern sensibilities and political correctness; Sooty however  remains  mute to the audience, communicating only by whispering into the ear of his operator and will continue to perform upon the xylophone, play tricks with his water pistol and wave his magic wand to the accompaniment of  his catch-phrase- "Izzy wizzy, let's get busy".

In essence the hand-puppet Sooty and his friends Sweep  the dog and Soo the panda bear are a highly original variant upon Punch and Judy, complete with much of the slap-stick comedy of the sea-side booth performers but without any of the inherent misogyny and violence associated with Punch and Judy. Sooty celebrated his  60th birthday on 19 July 2008 and because his birthday was close to Nelson Mandela's  90th birthday, he sent him a birthday message. When Harry Corbett received an O.B.E. for his charitable work Sooty responded by squirting Prince Philip with his water-pistol !

A very early appearance of Sooty on British T.V. accompanied by his creator, Harry  Corbett
Link to Sooty's  Official Web page


-E- said...

any relation to ronny?

Hydriotaphia said...

Don't know your reference, shall check it. I only know Rupert, Paddington, Yogi and Fozzie bear, but there seem to be many endearing furry bears in popular culture !

Nick said...

I remember Sooty. It screened here in the 80s. But I only ever saw the Matthew Corbett version. I didn't realise how old that puppet was!

Anonymous said...

I saw mathew and sooty as a kid great fun ,kids tv as it should be ,all the best stu

kevin andrew said...

Sooty rocks!

With regard to PC I see no mention of the character of Sue - a sort of panda with a polkadot bow from what I remember. Will she receive a makeover and become more kick arse? Will she continue to deprecate against Sooty's antics but be more annoyed at Sweep? I always thought Sue had a bad boy thing for Sweep. Or will she be axed altogether?

I think you are right. It was a sort of comfortable Punch & Judy show. But then the violence of Punch & Judy is extremely disturbing although the kids always seem to enjoy it. As I did myself as a kid. Not that I've seen many. I think P&J is culturally relevant to the English in a way that something like Sooty just isn't. I always thought that the undercurrents in P&J capture English Victorian society perfectly. Peter Gabriel seemed to be very into these kinds of things on the early Genesis album 'Nursery Cryme'. The Victoriana cover of that record with the little girl playing croquet with severed heads.