Back in the ‘80s, a chubby little girl almost bounced her pigtails off with excitement as the curtain went up and she discovered her birthday surprise was a trip to see Sooty. That little girl was me.

After 65 years in showbusiness that cheeky little bear is still out there amazing children with his magical performances.

The Sooty show is the longest running children’s programme in the world and his yellow and black face has popped up beside more celebrities than you can shake his magic wand.

The first human he appeared beside on screen was Harry Corbett in 1952, who originally bought Sooty for 38d (pence) (15p) for his son Matthew whilst on holiday in Blackpool in 1948.

After Harry retired, Matthew took over and enjoyed a new wave of popularity before retiring in 1998, giving Sooty to Richard Cadell who will be on stage at Watford Colosseum next week with Sooty, canine chum Sweep and panda friend Soo, for a special show about Sooty’s birthday party – but as usual things aren’t going to plan.

Here are some facts you may not know about Sooty n The Queen met Sooty in 1955 when he mischievously squirted water in Prince Phillips face!

  • Sooty is five in 'teddy years' and Sweep is four.
  • Harry Corbett’s wife used real soot to blacken the puppet’s ears to make him look different to other teddies – resulting in the name Sooty.
  • Harry Corbett paid £150 a year to insure his thumb and two fingers.
  • More than 1,000 puppets have been used since Harry Corbett bought the original Sooty.
  • Brenda Longman has voiced Soo for 30 years.
  • There have been more than 400 shows since Sooty arrived on our TV screens back in 1952.
  • Sooty was made Mayor of Blackpool in 2000 for just one day.
  • Every year Sooty raises £1m for the blind as a mascot of the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
  • The Sooty Show is on Sunday, September 28, 11am and 2.30pm at Wyllyotts Theatre, Wyllyotts Place, Darkes Lane, Potters Bar. Details: 01707 645005,