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TV Sooty puppet to be sold at auction for an estimated £400-£600

1 year ago

TV Sooty puppet to be sold at auction for an estimated £400-£600
Sooty TV show. Credit: PA

Set builder Brian Isaacs got the puppet from The Sooty Show as a gift for his son.

A treasured Sooty puppet, brought home by a stagehand on the top children’s TV show as a gift for his son, is to go on sale.

Brian Isaacs, who worked as a stagehand and set builder in the entertainment industry from the late 1960s through to the 1980s, begged officials on The Sooty Show to allow him to take the glove puppet home for his son Lee Kent who was a fan of the show.

Now Lee, 46, a security worker from Surbiton, south-west London, is hoping the puppet will go to a good home when it goes up for sale on July 17 as he still remembers his “father acting silly with Sooty” to make him and his brother Graham laugh.

The puppet has a £400-£600 estimate at the Hansons Auctioneers’ sale.

He said: “I’ve always treasured Sooty and kept him in a safe place. He’s been a talking point for many years but now I have no family left.

Sooty TV show. Credit: PA
Sooty TV show. Credit: PA

“My parents have passed away and, sadly I recently lost my brother. I have no children and have had health issues myself so feel it’s time Sooty found a home where he can be cherished and loved by someone who will appreciate him and his connection to one of the most famous children’s shows in TV history.”

His father met many entertainers when he worked for Thames Television for more than 20 years on the sets and in the rigging through to the 1980s.

Mr Kent said: “I have pictures of him with Ernie Wise, Tom O’Connor, Des O’Connor and Frankie Vaughan among other celebrities, but not, unfortunately, Harry or Matthew Corbett.”

He added: “I was only about three when dad bought Sooty home in 1979 or 1980. At the time my family lived in Carshalton, south London, near the Thames studios.

Sooty TV show. Credit: PA
Sooty TV show. Credit: PA

“Dad told me Sooty was old and had been used in the TV show. I am not sure whether our Sooty was used by Harry or Matthew Corbett but Matthew would have been presenting the show at the time.

“When I was young dad used to play with Sooty to entertain me and my brother, Graham. It still brings a smile to my face when I think of my father acting silly with Sooty.”

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: “This touching story of a loving dad begging a Sooty from the TV set where he worked to delight his sons reminds me of why Sooty was invented in the first place.

“Harry Corbett famously bought the first Sooty puppet on Blackpool’s North Pier for seven shillings and six pence in 1948 to entertain his children.

“The little bear has brought joy to millions of youngsters ever since.”

He added: “The nation’s love for the little yellow bear with a sooty nose and paws never seems to dim.”

A 1950s original Sooty puppet used by Harry Corbett set a world record auction price when it sold for £14,500, with buyer’s premium, at Hansons in 2018, the auctioneers said.

Richard Cadell, the man who now owns the rights to the TV character, paid £3,100 for an original Corbett-owned Sooty at auction in 2008.

The Sooty Show was created by Harry Corbett and produced for the BBC from 1955 to 1967, and then for ITV from 1968 until 1992.

Production was handled by Thames Television from 1968 with Mr Corbett presenting the programme until he retired in 1975.

Son Matthew Corbett went on to present the programme until 1992.

For more TV news click here.

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