My next interview in a series working up to the opening of this years Wolverhampton Grand panto is with Richard Cadell and Sooty! Richard and Sooty are returning to The Grand 15 years after they were last there and are looking forward to being part of Sleeping Beauty. I caught up with Richard in the glorious surroundings of the Mount Hotel and found out all about life with TVs most famous bear.
Fashion-Mommy: Tell me about your role in Sleeping Beauty.
Richard Cadell: Muddles the jester is the comic, the stupid character who gets everything wrong. He;s a court jester, a sort of Buttons character. Of course I also have Sooty with me, he’s my friend but he’s also full of mischief.
FM: This isn’t your first panto at the Grand, but what attracted you to the part?
RC: Yes I was here with Frank Bruno around 15 years ago. I haven’t actually done panto for 10 years as I have done the Sooty Christmas show in London. But then QDOS asked if I would like to do panto again, and I decided yes, but that I would like to do panto somewhere I knew. This panto is going to be amazing, QDOS are pulling out all the stops, the Grand is a stunning venue that is such a joy to work in. I love that the audience is so close and there is always a cracking atmosphere. I really wanted to come back to Wolverhampton. My family live in Leicester so I’m also quite close to them for visits.
FM: Let’s get on to Sooty. You were handpicked by Matthew Corbett to take on the Sooty mantle, did you face a lot of pressure.
RC: An immense amount. Matthew is a great friend and an impossible act to follow, but he has also been a great support and guide. They were impossible shoes to fill, but it has now been more than 20 years and I feel I now understand the role and dynamics. You must remember Matthew grew up with Sooty, he was made for him, but it’s been great, and there’s more to come next year.
FM: You’ve now worked with Sooty for 19 years and it is still a complete success, what do you put this done to?
RC: It plays to so many ages, it plays wide – adults laugh too. We’ve just finished the latest series with guests like Peter Andre, Faye Tozer and Lisa Riley, really great guest stars. Like most kids programmes it has a fairly low budget, but most people when asked want to be in it because they grew up with the Sooty show. Barry Gibb uses Sooty as his mascot and he helped with the 70th birthday celebrations.
FM: Do you have a fave Sooty episode?
RC: In the latest series there is an episode with Lisa Riley and a car wash, that is my current favourite.
FM: You are also a top illusionist, how did you come up with your famous vanishing motorbike illusion?
RC: I wanted to do an illusion that was bigger and more spectacular that any ever seen in this country. I like to push borders, like with the double sawing in half act that had no boxes. In Sleeping Beauty watch out for an illusion that is Carabosse’s revenge. All I will say is a wooden crate, 6 chainsaws and 60 seconds to escape!
FM; You won the David Berglas award for magic, following the likes of Dynamo, can you tell me about that?
RC: David Berglas award is given by the Inner Magic Circle. Previous winners include Dynamo and Derren Brown so really good company. It’s a little geeky I suppose as it looks at technical skills, a very proud moment.
FM: The Sooty Movie, can you tell me anything about it?
RC: We’re hoping to start shooting next Summer, with a serious budget. Paddington set the level for a resurgence in family films, so this won’t be a little Sooty episode, but a real high quality, high budget movie.
FM: Finally back to panto. Do you have your own favourite Panto or pantomime character?
RC: I’m really looking forward to doing this one, but I love Cinderella. I’ve always thought Buttons should’ve got Cinderella!
Saturday 8 December 2018 – Sunday 13 January 2019
Tickets from £16.50*
*A £3 booking fee applies to all purchases.
Tickets for SLEEPING BEAUTY are now on sale. Tickets can be booked in person at the theatre, by calling 01902 42 92 12 or online at grandtheatre.co.uk.