Here, we speak to Sooty’s TV presenter, Richard Cadell, about what audiences can expect from the show, which is on stage at Cast in Doncaster:
Why do you think Sooty suits the story?
Well, Sooty’s a great magician, so it’s easy to see why he would want to meet the wizard, and as for Sweep – well we’ve always wondered if he actually had a brain so maybe the wizard will fix him up too!
But really The Wizard of Oz is a classic childen’s tale that has spanned the generations – as has Sooty –so it’s a perfect fit.
What is it about Sooty that sparks joy across the generations?
It’s simplicity. Good old slapstick fun. Everybody has grown up watching Sooty and it evokes happy childhood memories for so many.
Equally, parents and grandparents love watching their children laugh out loud at the same things they did. In this fast, ever-changing world Sooty has remained unaffected– still the naughty magical bear everybody loves.
Do you feel you’ve made any significant changes to keep the magic alive?
Maybe it’s a little faster than it was 50 years ago but apart from that I’m hugely proud to say we’ve changed nothing. So many children’s shows have been tweaked and lost something along the way.
The Sooty Show is exactly as Harry Corbett created it – and it shall remain that way. If it ain’t broke…!
You’re playing the Scarecrow, who famously wants a brain, but if you could get one thing, what would it be?
An extension to this theatre tour! I don’t want it to end. I’m not ashamed to say I love my job. Doing the television show is great but you can’t beat the buzz of a live show.
We to come up on the stage anything could happen and often does.
When you bought the rights for Sooty in 2008 did you see his revival as being so successful?
I dreamed it would be but it has surprised me. We are now on TV in Australia and in production for Sooty The Movie which is just incredible really.
Since the very beginning, Sooty appeared in live stage performances. Since then, The Sooty Show has been very successful on TV.
How important is it to you that Sooty returns to the stage for live performances?
Very important. Sooty is unique in as much that he transfers seamlessly from TV to stage. So many children’s characters can’t do that. So when the children come to the theatre there’s no disappointment. And I always do a meet and greet after each show. To see the children’s faces when they meet Sooty is priceless.
n Sooty is at Cast on Sunday, April 3. Box office: 01302 303959 or at castindoncaster.com