Update July 2008 - There will be a real edited entry called A little bear called Sooty , but I shall continue keeping this unedited one and add news stories to it if Sooty's life changes.
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Classic Goo -
SOOTY AND SWEEP
Sooty is a yellow teddy bear glove puppet , and Sweep is a grey spaniel dog glove puppet. They are the stars of a children's TV program .
Harry Corbett was born on 28 January in Bradford, Yorkshire.
Sooty's life began in July 1948 when Harry Corbett was on holiday in Blackpool, Lancashire and bought a Teddy Bear glove puppet to amuse his son David, then aged 3.
Harry Corbett was an amateur magician and pianist who used the glove puppet in a children's entertainment show, buying it a water pistol and a xylophone. Harry was no ventriloquist , and as the show was originally just Harry and Sooty , there was no way for Harry to make Sooty speak,so the Sooty character did not speak and whispered to Harry.
Harry Corbett and Sooty's TV Debut was on Saturday May 3rd 1952, on the BBC program Talent Night. To make the Teddy bear unique Harry covered the bears ears and nose with soot from the chimney, so that's how Sooty was named. Sooty was given his own show on Sundays and in the show Sooty did magic tricks using the phrase Izzy Whizzy Lets Get Busy , and played the xylophone. At the end of the Show, Harry always said Bye Bye Everybody Bye Bye , and Sooty waved.
The first televised "Children in Need" appeal was the 1955 Children's Hour Christmas Appeal, presented by Sooty and Harry Corbett.
The Sweep character was introduced in 1957, and Harry's brother Leslie was the puppetier.
The Soo character was introduced in 1965, and Harry's wife Majorie was the puppetier. Majorie also made all the costumes for Sooty, Sweep and Soo.
The BBC decided the drop the Sooty Show in 1968 , and Harry and Sooty signed to Thames TV.
Harry Corbett had a heart attack on Christmas morning 1975 and Harry's younger son Peter who had only ever seen the Christmas show once had to take over the Sooty Show. Peter was known as Matthew Corbett due to there being another Equity actor already called Peter Corbett.
Harry Corbett was awarded the OBE in the New Year honours list 1976. Harry accepted the OBE from Queen Elizabeth II while still recuperating from his heart attack. Sooty also went to Buckingham Palace to accept his own minature OBE medal .
Harry Corbett was featured on the UK TV show This Is Your Life in 1988 . When Michael Aspel produced the Big Red Book for Harry , he also produced a Little Red Book for Sooty.
Harry Corbett died on 17th August 1989, aged 71.
Little Cousin Scampi introduced to The Sooty Show.
The Sooty Show signed to Granada Television in Manchester in 1993.
In the first episode, Sooty cried because he was homesick, and Sooty, Sweep and Sue took a trip on a tram. Some of the episodes were filmed in Heaton Park, Prestwich.
In 1998 Matthew Corbett then aged 50, sold Sooty and Co to Guiness Mahon. The TV Show continued as Sooty Heights with new presenters Richard Cadell and Liana Bridges.
Sooty and Sweep were among the celebrities on the Peter Kay video to Tony Christie's song "Is this the way to Amarillo" released for Comic Relief.
Sooty was mentioned in Fit the 23rd, the radio adaptation of the 5th Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book. The Grebulons were monitoring Earth and observed that it was a bad idea to give a glove puppet bear a water pistol.
Sooty and co were put up for sale.
On Dec 28th 2007, Soo won a special christmas edition of The Weakest Link winning £11,500 for WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) as they saved the pandas. The other contestants were Roland Rat, Otis the Aardvark, Nobby the sheep, Jelly and Jackson, The Leprachauns, Roly Mo, Zippy and George, Nev the bear.
In 2008, Richard Cadell bought the rights to Sooty.
The Characters in the Sooty Show
Sooty was a lovable and naughty yellow teddy Bear with black ears. Sooty was age 5, and always got away with things, covering poor Harry in floor, eggs, water, ink and even hitting him with a hammer. It wouldn't be allowed on TV today.
Sweep was a grey spaniel dog with long black ears.
Sweep was age 4, a year younger than Sooty and the dim type who always got the wrong end of the stick. Sweep liked bones and sausages.
Soo was a black and white girl panda.Soo was a goody two shoes character, and spoke English.
Butch, a fierce looking dog . Butch was introduced because of a programme where Sooty was a boxing champion and Harry didn't want Sooty to fight his best friend Sweep.
Kipper, a cat who was always falling asleep. This was handy for a glove puppet show as the puppet could just lie there.
Ramsbotton, a snake with a Yorkshire accent.
The Marvellous Minature Props
A mincer which fed out sausages for Sweep.
A trick camera which squirted ink in Harrys direction whichever way it was pointed.
An electric organ
A xylophone with animal pop ups, depending on the tune played .e.g. When Sooty played 3 blind mice, mice popped up.
Enery the Robot.
A minature caravan , only seen from the outside but with a fully fitted interior including water in the kitchen taps.
Little Cousin Scampi
A teddy bear smaller and less bright than Sooty.
Sooty's Water Pistol and some of his victimsPrince Philip
Richard and Judy
Matthew Corbett and Harry Corbett
Sooty toys , books and games available in the 1960s
The following characters were in the annuals -
Sooty - A white bear with red trousers
Sweep - A grey dog with a red collar
Cokey - A clown
Mr Fusspot - The Mayor
PC Nab - A Policeman
Ali Artful - A Thief
Calico Joe - A Black Cat
Wizzard Wong - A wizzard
The 1965 annual cost 7s 6d (37.5pence in today's money)
The 1966 annual cost 8s 6d (42.5pence in today's money)
Some of the pictures in the annuals were in colour , and yet they still showed Sooty as white , so the artists and publishers at the time must have thought he was white.
Click here to see a picture from a
Sooty Entertains - the 1961 LP record
This was on the WING label catalog number WL1099
Harry Corbett talked , Sooty played musical instruments as he doesn't speak and Sweep sang as only Sweep can.
The tracks were
SOOTY's CONCERT including The Bells of St Mary's , The Happy Wanderer , Beautiful Dreamer , Old Pi-anna Rag , April Showers
SOOTY THE CHEF
DANGER - ANIMALS AT WORK including Song of the Volga Boatman
SOOTY'S THEATRE including Jolly Good Company , Trees
DOUBLE-CROSS QUIZ including Scotland the Brave,Swanee River,Trumpet Voluntary,I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts,Nick Nack Paddy Wack,Sooty,Boys and Girls Come Out To Play,Pop Goes The Weasel,September in the Rain
THE MUSIC LESSON including Greensleeves,Three Blind Mice,How Much is that Doggie in the Window, Sooty
SOOTY'S MUSIC FESTIVAL including Shenandoah,Sailors Hornpipe , the Whistle and His Dog , Swanee River , Sooty
SOOTY'S PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO
Various crockery items were available , including
a cereal bowl which showed Sooty wearing red trousers and a blue and white pinny standing at the kitchen sink holding a mop and a pan , and Sweep looking through the kitchen window.
The bowl was made by KEELE ST. PTY. CO LTD and the Sooty Concessions Reg no was 743610.
Click here to see a picture of
The toy xylophone had 8 notes ,each depicting a different picture of Sooty.
1 Green - Sooty in a nightshirt
2 Yellow - Sooty in school uniform
3 Blue - Sooty in a chefs outfit baking a cake
4 Red - Sooty in blue and white football outfit kicking a football
5 Green - Sooty the Magician with Magic Wand
6 Yellow - Sooty playing the xylophone
7 Blue - Sooty reading a book on Magic
8 Red - Sooty waves bye-bye
Click here to see a picture of
Sooty Sweep and Soo glove puppets
The puppets were sold in the theatres during the Sooty Shows and for every 10 Sooty puppets sold , 5 Sweeps and 3 Soos were sold.
Sooty and CO Modelling and Colouring Set
This kit had 4 rubber moulds of Sooty , Sweep , Soo and Butch. A mixture of Plaster of Paris and water was poured into the moulds and allowed to set. The moulds were then removed and the models painted.
This picture is of models of Sooty,Sweep and Butch as made and painted by a little girl in the 1960's. Soo was accidently beheaded many years ago , and was unable to appear in this picture.
Sooty Home Furnishings
Material was available in a red cotton fabric with images of Sooty and Sweep.
Wallpaper was available in a white background with images of Sooty and Sweep
Click here to see pictures of the
Sooty Playing cards
What's Sooty's Line , a happy families game
Sooty saves Sixpence
Sooty's Magic card game
Click here to see pictures of
Sooty playing cards
Sooty soft toys (1990s and later)
More Information about Sooty
Here is a link to the BBC cult retro webpage about Sooty
Note - the information on that page is incorrect , Matthew Corbett took over from his father Harry Corbett in 1976 not 1967. This error was reported to the BBC on 28th April 2001 and they have promised to correct it.
By 3rd July 2002 they still have not done this.
Update 11th November 2003 - they have managed to move the page to a different address but the error is still there.
Update 20th March 2005 - the error is still there and had been repeated in two other news stories.
Other pages on h2g2
News stories about Sooty
Here are some news stories featuring Sooty.