The Sooty Show
Reported by Geoffrey Newton
Winter Wonderland at Event City next to the Trafford Centre in Manchester was, according to the publicity “The UK’s Largest indoor Christmas Theme Park”. When I saw the size of this major event I was convinced this was no hype but a true statement. Imagine a fairground, complete with rides, side shows a circus and all the usual attractions but inside, then this was it!
My reason for attending was to meet up with Richard Cadell between performances of The Sooty Show at this massive event in the North West. It ran most days from 18th December 2013 to 5th January 2014 with each day split into 2 sessions, morning or afternoon. Richard presented 4 shows per day, of two different styles so children in each session could see both shows.
A brand new completely mobile set had been made for this season and was intended to be used for a tour in 2014. This bright, modern innovative showpiece had been built by Richard with plenty of trap doors everywhere so the puppets could appear and disappear from many places creating more Sooty mayhem to the shows.
Richard really is a nice chap both on and off the stage/TV screen. As we were conducting this interview children were coming up to him with their parents asking for photographs and Richard always very pleasantly obliged. The second series of the Sooty show for CITV was filmed in the summer of 2013 and aired from early September. The 22 episodes went into instant repeat and this is a very highly rated programme with audience figures approaching 2 million. Not bad for a little fella who is approaching 66 years old - Sooty that is, not Richard!.
Now it was time for me to sit back and enjoy the mischief of Sooty and friends that I grew up with. Cue Richard on stage with a terrific all shouting, all cheering “He’s behind you” a la pantomime syndrome as a bewildered Richard kept looking for Sooty. Once found he went into a very upbeat parody on Jingle Bells. It was not long before Sooty’s good intentions of putting the tinsel up were thwarted by Sweep deciding sausages were a better idea.
All the balloon gags were there and Sooty even blew a balloon up. Now that’s good puppeteering (if there is such a word!). It even received a round of applause from the adults. Now to slow down the pace there was a bedtime story for the little bear before Richard revved the youngsters up again to join in some action dances, bringing a perfect finish to this fast moving high energy show.
Sooty and Friends will be appearing at various venues throughout 2014 and also returns to the British Ring Convention in September. Details of this including registration facilities are on www.magicconvention.co.uk
© Geoffrey Newton, January 2014