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Sooty Documentary Reveals BBC Stress Over Female Character

By Gary Cutlack on at

The decision to introduce a female puppet to the Sooty extended universe in the 1960s was a lot more controversial than you might think, with the broadcaster's director general getting involved to ensure the new lady puppet wouldn't shock or deprave the nation.

This battle over sexism is revealed in documentary Sooty Ungloved, which is set to have its world premier this weekend in Guiseley, West Yorkshire -- home of series creators Harry and Matthew Corbett. When Harry wanted Soo to join in and expand the character list the show's producer wasn't particularly keen, warning that "...sex would be creeping into the programme" by the, er, backdoor. And no one wants sex by the backdoor on children's TV.

The fight to introduce Soo was so heated that the then DG Hugh Carleton Greene had to get involved, and a compromise was reached -- Soo could join in, but there had to be no touching between her and the other characters, lest the children of the nation be corrupted. So Sooty got a girlfriend, even though he couldn't touch her on screen and had to make to with a grope in the props bag after filming. [BBC]


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