MEET the latest member of The Magic Circle.

No, not Richard Cadell. He has been a part of Britain’s secretive society dedicated to advancing the art of magic for many years.

It is, in fact, Richard’s furry companion who has made the list after leaving children spellbound for almost 70 years.

Sooty has become the first non-human to join the group of around 1,000 illusionists.

Richard said: “Sooty is now a member of The Magic Circle so he got his diploma and he’s now officially on the membership list.

“It’s in recognition of all Sooty has achieved for kids over the years.”

The idea to induct Sooty as an honourary member of sorts came about after Richard donated The Sooty Show creator Harry Corbett’s original props to The Magic Circle’s museum in London.

The exhibits were so popular that the president of The Magic Circle thought the little yellow bear ought to be recognised.

Richard admitted that the society lives up to its reputation of closely guarding its secrets but considering Sooty’s only mode of communication is whispering in his ear the tricks of the trade are probably safe.

Richard, 48, added: “The whole essence of magic is that if you know how it works there is no magic so the secrets of how a lot of the tricks are done and the principles behind it are closely guarded.

“If you want to be part of that you have to prove that you’ve got a real love and genuine interest in magic.”

Still this probably all feels a bit surreal for Richard who started watching Sooty on TV when he was four.

“I remember it well,” he said.

“Before I did The Sooty Show I was a magician and of course watching Sooty was the first time I saw a magic trick as a kid. It was the beginning of my love of magic.

“I remember watching Harry Corbett and then his son Matthew Corbett taking over and me not really understanding who Matthew was or liking it quite as much.

“It’s quite funny because when I took over I had years of people saying: ‘It’s not as good as it was when it was Matthew Corbett’.

“Twenty years later I’m only just beginning to shake that. Now I’ve got my generation of kids who don’t know who Matthew is.”

Richard first met Matthew, who lives with his wife Sallie in Lymm, after winning the Young Magician of the Year competition when he was 15. The prize was to go on The Sooty Show.

He made an impression which eventually led to a working relationship between the pair.

Richard has been presenting the show since 1999 and then bought the rights from Matthew in 2008, Sooty’s 60th birthday year.

It was a big change considering Sooty, Sweep and Soo had been the Corbett family’s legacy for half a century.

But Matthew said Sooty was ‘in, or should I say on, the right hands’ and he could recognise his dad in some of Richard’s sketches.

“It’s always been a dream job really,” added Richard, who is a member of The Magic Circle’s inner circle.

“Because it was Matthew Corbett for so many years you just kind of thought it was one of those inseparable partnerships.

“I’ve done it for nearly 20 years now but even after all this time I still can’t believe it’s me.

“I’ve got massive respect for Matthew and I think it would be fair to say there’s a lot of him in what I do.

“Those routines work and Matthew knows I was a huge fan of his father.

“Why change it? Sooty, Sweep and Soo are doing what they always did and I’m very proud to keep that going.

“It’s the same sort of slapstick comedy, it’s innocent and because people have grown up watching the show it’s very trusted.

“I think I’m a hybrid between Matthew and Harry. Hopefully I’m my own man but I definitely take a bit of Matthew and a bit of Harry and a little bit of me and wrap it all up.

“It means a lot to me that Matthew is supportive and agrees with what we’re doing.

“It’s CITV’s highest rated show and holds a Guinness Record for the longest running children’s show in the world.

“I never fail to appreciate how amazing it is.”

The Sooty Show is at the Parr Hall on Tuesday, February 21. There are two shows at 11am and 2.30pm. Visit or call 442345 for tickets