Woman's anger at TV puppet favourite Sooty as star pulls out of Doncaster show

An angry mum has hit out at children's TV puppet legend Sooty after a Doncaster show which she claims upset scores of children.

Tuesday, 5th April 2016, 3:09 pm
Sooty with presenter Richard Cadell.

The yellow glove puppet and his pals Sweep and Soo were due to appear in a touring Easter production of The Wizard of Oz with presenter Richard Cadell at Cast on Sunday - but the performer had to pull out of the production at the eleventh hour due to "personal circumstances."

But upset Sheffield theatregoer Kath Taylor has blasted the venue and the presenter for the no-show, comparing it to "booking to see Elton John and Rylan Clark taking his place."

She said: "Richard Cadell didn't even turn up, which I think was disgusting.

"There was no warning, no I'm sorry, not even an announcement, he was just replaced by some other guy.

"I asked staff members where he was and they said they didn't know, they had just found out he wasn't coming.

Mrs Taylor, from Upperthorpe, added: "It was so wrong. It's like booking to see Elton John and (former X-Factor star) Rylan Clark taking his place."

She added that fans were told they could meet Sooty after the show and said: "It was a total shambles. There were many many upset children."

Mrs Taylor said: "I phoned to complain to the venue and the lady said they had had hundreds of complaints and that they wouldn't be booking with the company again. I just think that it was a total rip off and there should be some explanation into where he was?"

A spokesman for Cast said Mr Cadell had been forced to pull out of the show, produced by Merseyside-based Shone Productions and that an understudy had filled his role in the show.

A statement said: “Due to unforeseen personal circumstances and with regret, Richard Cadell was unable to perform in the production of Sooty & Friends in The Wizard of Oz.

"Standing in for Richard was the brilliant Mark Jones. Sooty was, and is, in good hands.

"The nature of theatre and live entertainment means that on rare occasions, due to unexpected events and without much notice, artists are unable to perform as previously advertised.

"When we do have prior information of such an instance Cast will take every measure to inform audiences of such a change to the programme.”

The show, a re-telling of the classic fairytale, promised fans "dazzling dance routines and plenty of laughter" as well as "well known pop songs and plenty of audience participation."

The famously mute bear has not commented on the story.

Graham Shone, of production company Shone Productions said: "The venue gave a full announcement before the performance about Richard's non-appearance.

"We have spoken to Cast - they did not have hundreds of complaints, they had a couple of people who mentioned it. There was a meet and greet after the show which lasted for an hour. The suggestions are totally inaccurate and we totally refute them. We booked with Cast, not the other way around."

Sooty was created by Harry Corbett in 1948 and the children's television show that bears his name has continued in various forms since the 1950s and, according to Guinness World Records, is the longest-running children's programme in the UK.

Mr Corbett bought the puppet as a present for his son, Matthew, from a stall when he was on holiday in Blackpool and he made his first TV appearance in 1952.

Following Mr Corbett's retirement in 1976, Sooty was operated by Corbett's son Matthew before his own retirement in 1998 which saw Richard Cadell become his new pal.