Japanese buy Sooty for pounds 1.4m

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The Independent Online
The Japanese bought Sooty for pounds 1.4m yesterday. The Global Rights Development Fund, a subsidiary of the Bank of Yokohama, purchased the intellectual rights to the squeaky glove puppet, his sidekicks Sweep and Soo and their lesser known pal Little Cousin Scampi from Matthew Corbett, son of the late Harry Corbett, who created them.

The company promised that Mr Corbett would continue to work closely with the character in the television series Sooty & Co and a touring theatre show until 1998.

Simon Turner, the senior investment manager of Guinness Mahon Development Capital, which manages the GRDF, said: "Sooty is a British classic made popular following an uninterrupted 44 years on television and a highly successful theatre show. The character is closely linked to the skills of Harry and Matthew Corbett but has the potential to be developed much further."

Mr Corbett commented: "I have worked hand in glove with Sooty for the past 20 years, but now it is time for him to stand on his own two feet. The plan is to use my 50th birthday in two years' time as a springboard to shoot Sooty to true international stardom."