These were the best toys my Brother and I ever had. I had “Sooty”, and my brother had “Sweep” and we’d make little plays with them. Perhaps Sweep was the best because it came with a little squeaker, so made a noise, where’s sooty only whispered into your ear.
The great thing about these hand puppets is they were made to quite a high standard, so they looked exactly like the sooty and sweep in the real TV show. Also, because in the TV show, you don’t actually hear sooty or sweep speak, when we made a “show” it meant that it felt just like the real thing!
Amazingly, Sooty and Sweep were glove puppets that were popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and well, all around the world. Sooty was a small yellow bear and sweep was a grey dog.
The children's television show they featured on, had been broadcast in various forms since the 1950s and in the Guinness Book of Records is the longest-running children's programme in the UK! So the sooty and sweep we used as children was actually 40 years old, and he was 60 years old in 2008!
I didn’t know this (well why would I, as it was before I was born) but Sooty first appeared the BBC in 1952 on the BBC's Talent Night
The glove puppet I had was just like the original bear which was completely orange, and Harry covered his ears and nose with soot so that he would show up better on black and white television. Wow! He really is that old!
Sooty's personality was great to play or pretend to be when I was little – as he could change from kindness to cheekiness in a blink of an eye. He plays the xylophone (very violently!) and keeps a wand to perform magic. When he uses the wand he says the magic words: "Izzy wizzy, let's get busy!"
Also – he has a water pistol that he uses on anyone who crosses him!! That was fun too!
Mine and My Brothers shows always ended like the TV shows ended - with the line "Bye bye everybody, bye bye”.
Sooty fact: - The Sooty show had a number of celebrities in it and Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain a Sooty fan was on the show and always has the puppet as a mascot on the front of his drumkit – in fact he has apparently even worn a full size Sooty costume at shows to make an entrance. Though I doubt he did much whispering. Sooty Fact number 2 – a very curious one this one - Sooty and Sweep appeared for a special 90th Birthday message for Nelson Mandela – if you don’t believe me, have a look, it’s on YouTube. Incredible!