Sooty for sale

Hit Entertainment seeking buyer for veteran kids property.
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The longest running children's TV programme in the UK, Sooty - and his friends Sweep and Soo - are understood to have been put up for sale by joint brand owners Hit and Guinness Flight Venture Capital Trust.

It is thought the two companies are selling the property because they see little scope in selling it around the world. Sooty first featured on British TV in the 1950s with Harry Corbett, who has bought the puppet in Blackpool to amuse his son, Matthew.

The show switched to ITV from BBC in 1968, with Matthew succeeding his father as presenter in the 1970s. Matthew left the programme in 1998, but Sooty is still aired on CITV.

Bridgefilms, the joint venture which owns the rights to Sooty and another character Mumfie the Elephant, bought the characters in 1996 for £1.4m.

However, last year ITV cancelled a planned new Sooty series which had been expected to boost merchandise sales. This caused Guinness Flight to slash its valuation of Bridgefilms. The company's value was cut from more than £2m to just £324,000 in Guinness Flight's last accounts in February.

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Richard Cadell on saving Sooty, brand longevity and stage shows

In 2007, it looked like Sooty might have launched his last custard pie following a difficult time under the ownership of Hit Entertainment. But Sooty presenter Richard Cadell acquired the rights and set about restoring the iconic puppet to its former glory. Now The Sooty Show is a ratings hit for ITV with licensing partners including Redan Publishing, Golden Bear and Fashion Lab proudly on board. Cadell talks to Billy Langsworthy about saving Sooty, picking partners and why a CGI version would be the nail in the coffin for the yellow bear

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