Saturday, 11 October 2008

Rare Sooty puppet to be auctioned

Fans of children's favourite Sooty will have the chance to own an early version of the bear puppet when it is sold at an auction in Derby later this month.

The yellow bear, who was created by puppeteer Harry Corbett, will be sold with a guide price of £200 to £300, although I predict a price of four figures.

Hansons Auctioneer manager Charles Hanson said: "Apparently this puppet was one of Harry Corbett's most cherished ones."

Sooty has been a fixture on children's TV since the 1950s.

The original puppet was bought on Blackpool Pier for 7/6 in 1948.

It was completely yellow but Corbett sewed on a black nose, mouth and ears so that he stood out on black and white TV.

Sooty, who communicated by apparently whispering in Corbett's ear, was later joined by Sweep, a dog puppet and Soo the panda.

The Sooty puppet was given to senior BBC receptionist Violet Marley in 1962.
Ms Marley gave the puppet to her niece, Sally Keene, who has put it up for sale.

Hanson said the auction is "poignant" because Sooty is 60 this year.
"We hope it will find a good home and stay in the country," he said.

Entertainer Richard Cadell recently bought the rights to the bear, with plans to revive the classic puppet for the next generation of children.

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