Sooty is one of the best loved children’s TV characters of all time: a mischievous little yellow bear with a penchant for playing the xylophone, squirting his pals with his water pistol and waving a wand to the catchphrase “Izzy wizzy, let’s get busy”.
Sooty is joined on his various adventures by a host of friends including squeaking dog Sweep, soft-voiced panda Soo and his naughty young cousin Scampi. Each story usually ends up with his puppeteer getting a good soaking from Sooty’s water pistol.
Sooty made his TV debut in 1952 on Talent Night and in 1967 crossed over from the BBC to ITV. After Harry retired his son Matthew took up the mantle until 1997 when Corbett sold control of the series for over a million pounds. From 1992 the show was titled Sooty and Co.
Any time Sooty “talks”. The audience never hears the bear speak out loud, so relies on Matthew or Richard’s humorous interpretations which often are full of feigned shock and disbelief.
The puppet got his name after creator Harry Corbett covered his nose and ears with soot, so he would stand out better on the black and white TV of the 1950s. Meanwhile, before Matthew took over from his father Harry he was part of the kids’ TV troupe Rod, Jane and Matthew, which then became Rod, Jane and Freddy when he left.
Harry Corbett as Presenter
Matthew Corbett as Presenter
Creator: Harry Corbett
Network: BBC – Thames – Granada (from 1992)
Duration: x25 minute episodes
Aired From: 1955-1997
7 Jan 1975 with Gerry Marsden (7 Jan 75)