LONDON: Puppet star Sooty celebrates his 48th birthday this year, and attended London’s Worldwide Licensing Exposition for the first time.
The trade fair, for all involved in merchandising popular characters, ‘helped to realize Sooty’s full licensing potential,’ says Matthew Corbett, who took over Sooty duties from his father 20 years ago. Chatsworth Enterprises, which manages the licensing program for Sooty, has already signed over 30 licenses covering books, videos, toys, food and clothing.
‘He has the potential to be Britain’s leading licensed character,’ says Corbett.
At 48, Sooty is, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the U.K.’s most enduring character, and was last year voted best character in the Children’s ITV awards. His show, Sooty and Co. (produced independently for Granada TV since 1993 by Sooty International) averages 3.6 million viewers on CITV and a new series is in production for air in September.
The puppet, who never speaks (preferring to use a member of the Corbett family as mouthpiece), has also featured in promotions for mobile phones and breakfast cereals and campaigns to raise funds for the Royal National Institute for the Blind.
In recent years, his friend Sweep the dog has been added, along with extra characters Soo and Little Cousin Scampi.