I strongly believe that the secret of Sooty’s enduring success is the fact that he is essentially a version of everyone’s favourite toy – a teddy bear!
We all had a favourite teddy bear and chances are they looked very much like Sooty. When I do personal appearances it doesn’t really matter if children have seen the show on TV or not, most of them form an instant bond with Sooty, probably because he reminds them of their own, much loved, cuddly toys waiting back at home.
It’s funny that today it’s frowned upon to build a successful kids brand (particularly a TV show) around popular toys, when you consider that the longest running kids TV show in the world is based on a teddy bear.
In fact, toys have been the inspiration for many of our most loved children’s brands – Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story and Noddy all rely on the magical relationship that small children have with their toys.
It’s exciting times for the Sooty toy range, with Golden Bear’s puppets launching in store this summer. I’m extremely pleased with the level of support we have received from the major toy retailers (I will certainly be busy squeezing store visits in between the live tour dates this year!).
I’ve always known that the puppets would be popular, but it’s going to be really exciting to see the other new products that Golden Bear are designing becoming a reality.
As a child, I was obsessed with magic and it’s been an ambition of mine to develop the ultimate magic set for Sooty fans.
I have always found that magic sets can be a little disappointing – concentrating on cramming as many tricks as possible into the box, without considering how they will work as part of a show or even if the target audience will be able to use them.
I am currently working closely with Golden Bear, who share my enthusiasm for this product, to come up with an affordable magic set, that children from as young as two years will be able to pick up and have fun performing to their families and friends.
Today’s kids might have more choice than we had in terms of toys, but what I love is that they are still just as happy to play with a stick as they are with an iPad.
Children will always love to play and the toy industry will constantly be looking to find the next big thing to keep them entertained, but it is reassuring to know that there is still room in their hearts and toy cupboards for a cuddly teddy bear or two.