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|Sooty & Co.|
Sooty and Co. opening theme (1995–1998)
|Created by||Matthew Corbett|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||6|
|No. of episodes||90|
|Running time||20 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Sooty Films|
Cosgrove Hall Films (Opening sequence only)
|Original network||ITV Network (Granada)|
|Original release||6 September 1993 –|
14 December 1998
|Preceded by||The Sooty Show (1955–1992)|
|Followed by||Sooty Heights (1999–2000)|
Sooty & Co. is a British children's television series, created and presented by Matthew Corbett, produced by Granada Television, and aired on ITV from 6 September 1993 to 14 December 1998. It is the sequel to the children's programme The Sooty Show, which had concluded in 1992, retaining the sitcom format, and focuses on the misadventures of Matthew and puppet characters Sooty, Sweep, Soo and Little Cousin Scampi, as they try to run a bric a brac shop in Manchester. Episodes were mainly filmed at Granada's main studio in Manchester and around the city, though some episodes were filmed outside of Manchester, including within Scotland, Ireland, and Spain.
The programme was the last major children's programme for Corbett to front before he retired in 1998, having sold the rights to Sooty and the other characters to his successor Richard Cadell, a guest star during a number of episodes in the final series. Following its conclusion, Sooty & Co was succeeded by a new Sooty TV programme, entitled Sooty Heights, in 1999.
Following the conclusion of The Sooty Show, Matthew Corbett sells up the cottage, before buying a bric-a-brac shop in Manchester for himself, and the puppets Sooty, Sweep, Soo and Little Cousin Scampi, to run in which they buy and sell anything and everything, but with little luck. Like its predecessor, each episode sees Matthew, Sooty and the others being involved in hijinks ranging from trying to make money with the shop, or dealing with an issue that they have to sort out, and included moments of singing songs and providing educational insights. In some episodes, the characters travelled outside of Manchester as part of an episode's plot - one example involved the group going off on holiday to Spain.
Brenda Longman, the voice of Soo, was given a physical role in the programme as a regular character named Mo - a market seller whom Matthew tends to have difficulty in selling her anything, and always being made to buy something from her. Alongside the inclusion of a regular character, Sooty & Co also introduced a new element to the Sooty franchise in the form of a specially designed campervan for Sooty and his friends to travel around in, while a variety of guest stars took part in the programme, including Jack Dee, Paul Zerdin, Harry Hill, Neil Buchanan, and Jim Bowen. In the sixth and final series, as Corbett prepared for his retirement, several episodes featured the appearance of Richard Cadell, Corbett's successor to the rights on Sooty, and Liana Bridges, Cadell's partner in the subsequent programme Sooty Heights, as junior shop staff, mainly to test how they would fare with young viewers after the programme's conclusion.
- Matthew Corbett – The programme's presenter, who maintained many aspects of The Sooty Show in Sooty & Co, including the sitcom format, various gags, his role as narrator in scenes involving Sooty and/or the other puppets, and his on-screen character.
- Brenda Longman – The voice of Soo on the programme. Prior to Sooty & Co, Longman never assumed a regular character when she was given a physical role as Mo in a number of episodes of The Sooty Show, until Corbett devised the new programme. Longman devised the character to be a constant source of misery for Corbett whenever she turned up, with a running gag being that she was never sold anything by him and always cost him money instead.
- Richard Cadell - Guest presenter on the programme during the sixth and final series. As Corbett was set for retirement at the conclusion of the programme in 1998, Cadell was invited to take part in the programme in order to gauge the reaction of young viewers, and appeared in a number of episodes during the final series, though had no narrator role, as Corbett handled these.
- Liana Bridges - Guest presenter on the programme during the sixth and final series. Like Cadell, she appeared in a number of episodes during the final series.
A particular controversial episode of the show was "Soo's Babies", where Soo pretended to be pregnant. It received complaints from viewers, was reported in the national press, and made E4's Top 20 "Most Controversial TV Programmes" at #20. On E4's show, Brenda Longman (who plays 'Mo' and voices 'Soo' in the show), said the idea came about because Matthew tended to write for his daughter.
Matthew stated that he recalled his daughter wandering into his room with a pillow up her jumper, saying she was going to have a baby. He also said how it was a sort of educational piece.
In the same episode, Soo says she feels she has got the whole of the Manchester Football Team inside her, a joke that could be seen as sexual innuendo. In the show's defence, Longman stated how the show was also watched by parents as well as children, and that there were jokes in it for parents. Uri Geller said the story was played in a 'nice' and 'humorous' way.
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong
- Falkland Islands
- South Africa
UK VHS & DVD releases
|DVD Title||Release Date||Episodes|
|Sooty & Co – Sooty's Magic Box Of Tricks: Part 1||2007||Pulling The Wool, Tidy Box, Delgrub, The Stain Remover|
|VHS Title||Release Date||Episodes|
|Sooty & Co – Moving In/Bubble Trouble (VC1332)||7 March 1994||Moving In, Bubble Trouble|
|Sooty & Co – Scrap Idea/Buddy Jolly (VC1333)||7 March 1994||Scrap Idea, Buddy Jolly|
|Sooty & Co – Canal Capers/Staff Training (VC1336)||6 June 1994||Canal Capers, Staff Training|
|Sooty & Co – Sooty's Magic Solutions/New Friends (VC1337)||6 June 1994||Sooty's Magic Solutions, New Friends|
|Sooty & Co – Splashing Out/Soo to the Rescue (VC1338)||3 October 1994||Splashing Out, Soo to the Rescue|
|Sooty & Co – World Of Fun/Clocks Galore (VC1339)||3 October 1994||World Of Fun, Clocks Galore|
|Sooty & Co – Bun Fight (WP0032)||3 October 1994||Bun Fight|
|Sooty & Co – Camping Out and Other Stories (VC1383)||1 May 1995||A Magical Voice, Bun Fight, Camping Out|
|My Little Sooty ��� Moving In (ML0010)||1 April 1996||Moving In|
|Sooty Club – Bubble Trouble (SFC1416)||1 July 1996||Bubble Trouble|
|Sooty – Sooty's Elastic Tricks and Other Stories (VC1414)||2 September 1996||Soo's Spring Cleaning, Sooty's Elastic Tricks, Home Alone Sweep|
|Sooty – Speedy Sweep and Other Stories (VC1419)||2 September 1996||Speedy Sweep, Sweep's Little Accident, Breakdown|
|My Bumper Sooty – Little Shop Of Mischief (VC1441)||12 May 1997||Soo's Babies, Fun Park, Shop-Keeping, Sweep's Family, Dog Trouble|
|Sooty & Co – An Izzy Wizzy Christmas (GV0091)||9 November 1998||Sooty's Christmas Panto, The Gift, World Of Fun, Bun Fight|
|Sooty & Co – Animal Magic (GV0183)||28 February 2000||Pony and Trap, Kennels, Chaffinch|
|Sooty & Co – Sooty's Magic Box Of Tricks (GV0205)||21 August 2000||Splashing Out, Sooty's Magic Solutions, The Stain Remover, Talent Night, Twins, Moose Loose in the House, Now You See Him, Pulling The Wool, Tidy Box, Delgrub|