1. How did you first become involved with Sooty?
I first became involved with Sooty back in 2008. After assisting with the make-up on the Basil Brush TV show, I met Richard Cadell, (through Wink Taylor) who at that time was producing and directing the live Basil Brush shows. Richard asked whether I would like to do his make-up for Sooty's Birthday Party (a special video made for the Sooty Website). I said "yes" and have been involved ever since! It's great to have been a part of the Sooty phenomenon since the revival and to watch it grow has been amazing!
2. What does your job entail?
It primarily involves applying make-up to all the human characters in the show! I work very closely with Richard making sure he looks good and when required not so good! ( e.g. smoke blackened faces, porridge over his head, paint over his face, etc!) It can be a very messy job, but it's a lot of fun. I also apply character make up to some of our artists- one of my favourites is ageing up Wink Taylor for his comedy old man, who has made several appearances! I also work very closely with the celebrities who come on the show, applying their make-up and making sure they are well looked after. Once artists are on the set, I am responsible for checks (maintaining the look of their make-up and costume), continuity (an episode might be filmed over two or three days that are weeks apart, so I have to make sure an artist's look matches up with what we have already filmed!) and be ready to do any quick changes or repairs to costume and make-up.
For Series Two I was made Wardrobe Supervisor, so as well as doing the make-up, I was also responsible for sourcing, adapting and making all the costumes for the show, as well as cleaning and maintaining them! It's a very hands on job and you are often the first to start in the morning and the last to finish at night!
3. Did you watch Sooty when you were younger?
I did, I used to watch it in the Eighties when Matthew Corbett was presenting it. I loved puppets as a kid, and still do!
4. Do you have a favourite guest star? Whose make-up has taken longest to do?
I have to say all the guest stars who have appeared on the show have been a pleasure to work with, I've enjoyed working with them all! I think it was pretty special working with Brian Blessed, as I am such a fan of 'I Claudius' and of course 'Flash Gordon'. I also had a soft spot for Brendan Cole from Series One - being a dancer myself, I love 'Strictly Come Dancing' and would love to be his dance partner!
It's often the women who take the longest in make-up, because they simply wear more, but I suppose it's often the character make-ups which take the longest to apply; because of the application of wigs etc. One of my favourite make-ups is going to be coming up in The Haunted House episode on actor Maurice Thorogood.
5. Sooty has worn a lot of costumes. Are these specially made?
A lot of Sooty, Sweep and Soo's costumes are specially made. Mandy Glass, who was a puppeteer in Series One, makes all of their costumes - which I think are wonderful! I mainly deal with all the costumes for the humans!
6. Do you have a favourite costume?
I really like the costume for The Black Hand, I got the lovely John Hill from John Hill Costumes to re-create a replica of the original from the Matthew Corbett episode. I thought Joe Pasquale looked great and he really worked the costume well.
7. Do you have a favourite episode in the new series of Sooty?
There are so many good episodes in the new series, it's really hard to have just one favourite! I think out of the episodes I've seen so far I really like The Genie and The Black Hand, although I am greatly looking forward to The Haunted House and Pranks and Presents.
8. You've made a couple of appearances on screen (you played a brass band member in Series 1 and a passerby in the Series 2 episode Fitness Funatic) is it fun to be on screen? Will you make any more appearances during the new series?
It is a lot of fun - I love being in front of the camera as well as behind it! I didn't get as many opportunities to be on screen this series as I did the last, because I was always too busy - but you will see me in Wacky Washing and you'll hear me in Some Holiday.
9. You and Wink Taylor have your own puppet show about a cheeky mouse called Theo. Can you tell us a bit more about this and how he was created?
Imagine Sooty's naughtiness coupled with Basil Brush's cheek, then add a dash of Sweep's stupidity and you've got Theo The Mouse! Wink wanted to create his own puppet character after many years of working with other people's puppets, so in 2007 Theo the Mouse was born. We started by touring schools and libraries with Theo teaching Science and Literacy, such was the success, we then started touring in 2010 with our fun filled family show! Within the show there's lots of audience participation and we always put something in for the adults!
10. Wink is Theo's "assistant". Would you say he has any similarities to Theo?
He certainly does! He has big brown eyes just like Theo and also can be just as cheeky!!
11. Where can people see Theo? Is he touring at the moment?
We are performing in Blackpool at the Central Pier every Sunday until the 27th October, throughout the famous Blackpool Illuminations, and then we are touring during the School Half Term Holiday across the country. This year all three of us, Wink, Theo and myself, are performing in the Panto 'Cinderella' at The Leatherhead Theatre in Surrey. Theo is Buttons, I'm Cinderella and Wink is of course Baron Hardup - a silly old man who falls over a lot - I wonder why he was cast as that part!! All of our tour dates and shows are posted on Theo The Mouse's Facebook Page and you can also follow us on Twitter @TheoMouse.
12. We hear there's a Theo the Mouse DVD - where can people purchase this?
There certainly is, it was written by Wink and filmed and edited by Sooty Co-Writer Alex Skerratt. It's three fun episodes starring Theo the Mouse, myself and Wink, who guest stars as various different characters. It was a lot of fun to make and we have also included some of the out takes from each episode as an extra. You can purchase them from Amazon and it comes with a badge and signed postcard! Or come and see us at one of our shows and you can purchase one from us personally.
13. Can you imagine Theo the Mouse meeting Sooty and the Gang? I'm sure it would be hilarious to see him and Sweep in the same room!
Now that would be a meeting I would like to see! All I can say is I think it would be chaos.
14. We couldn't possibly end this interview without asking you: who's your favourite Sooty character?
Sooty is obviously the star, but I like Sweep and of course Dickie Blazer!