Sooty is celebrating 65 (yes, 65) years in showbiz. In that time many a young pretender has challenged his crown, from the Teletubbies to the Tweenies, but the loveable yellow bear has graced our screens since 1952 and holds the record for the longest running children’s programme in the world.
Now Sooty is back, and where would he be without his canine chum Sweep and panda buddy Soo in tow?
So because we’re nice an’ all, we’ve collected together some Sooty secrets in honour of his reapparance on television. Enjoy…
1. The original Sooty cost first owner Harry Corbett just 38p when he bought him in a joke shop on Blackpool North pier back in 1948.
2. Harry’s uncle was the fish and chip legend, Harry Ramsden.
3. Sooty’s name was inspired by Harry Corbett’s wife who used real soot to blacken the puppet’s ears to make him look different from other teddies.
4. Sooty’s first TV appearances were in black and white so it was a shock when the introduction of colour television revealed Sooty was in fact yellow!
5. It’s been 54 years since Sooty first met Sweep at a bus stop and they’ve been friends ever since. N’aww.
6. The Queen met Sooty in 1955 (left) when he mischeviously squirted water in Prince Phillip’s face. Her Majesty also revealed that Sooty was Princess Anne’s favourite programme.
7. Sooty raises £1m every year for the blind as a mascot of the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
8. Harry Corbett paid £150 a year to insure his thumb and two fingers.
9. Sooty first met his current right hand man Richard Cadell when he appeared as a guest magician on the Sooty Show back in 1983.
10. Sooty was made Mayor of Blackpool in 2000 for just one day.
11. Sooty and Sweep helped Peter Kay find the way to Amarillo for his 2005 Comic Relief single (right).
12. Sooty is celebrating his 65th birthday by returning home to Blackpool to star in a birthday tribute in lights for this year’s Blackpool illuminations.
13. In ‘teddy years’, Sooty is just five years old.
14. Sooty has starred in over 400 Sooty shows since he first arrived on screens in 1952.
15. Familiar faces popping up in Sooty’s latest series include B*Witched, Brian Blessed, Caroline Quentin and Joe Pasquale.