1. How did you first get involved with Sooty?
It was very unsophisticated! After I heard they were bringing the series back, I found Richard's email on Google and sent him a message asking if he needed a writer. He said yes, and invited me for an interview after one of the live shows in Lincoln, (although it was more like me interviewing him to be fair, nerdy fan that I am!) He then asked me to write a couple of sample scripts, which became the weather / pancake episodes of Radio Sooty, and he liked them. So we just went from there.
My all-time favourite episode is the 1980s Sherlock Sooty, the one on the yellow 'The Adventures of Sooty' VHS. In fact I think everything on this tape is definitive Sooty (for me) - stone cold classics. As for Sooty & Co... digging the tunnel to France is a particular fave, or any that involve Mo from t'market!
3. How do you go about writing the series? Do you all write together or do you submit individual scripts?
Oh man, it's complicated! Sometimes Richard will say to us 'I want an episode that uses such-and-such,' and either me or Wink will go off and write it. Or, alternatively, me and Wink will pitch ideas to Richard individually. Or, we'll all sit down together and flesh them out as a totally three-way thing. There's no 'one way' for us really.
4. Quite a few of the episodes are adapted from older episodes by Harry or Matthew, how are these written?
Richard's always very keen to be as faithful as possible to the classic material, and quite rightly so - it's nigh-on perfect. So it's a very unromantic process of pressing stop and start on the DVD player and transcribing the episodes into MS Word! (With occasional tweaks...)
5. How are the guest stars chosen for the series? Is there anyone you’d like to see in Series 3?
I'd love to see Matt Smith (Doctor Who) or Christopher Barrie (Red Dwarf) do an episode. Or maybe even Martin Roberts from 'Homes Under the Hammer'!
6. Everyone is saying that Series 2 is much bigger and better than Series 1. Do you agree with that?
It's a cliché, but it's absolutely true in this case. Richard has pulled together a much larger celebrity cast, and there are some massive ideas that, on paper, just sound impossible. It's on a much bigger scale and it's hugely ambitious. I can't wait to see it.
7. Can you give us some hints as to what we can expect from Series 2?
The gang doing what they do best. Lots of jokes - some of them good, some of them mine...! Pure, safe, funny, magical Sooty. And custard pies aplenty.
That's very hard for me to say because I don't know Matthew personally. But you'll know from the interviews he's done - he's never had a bad word to say about Richard's amazing work. And I'm sure Harry Corbett would be proud. After all, he started the thing! 65 years ago. Wow.
9. You met Matthew Corbett when he guest starred in the first series, what was he like?
Again, another cliché, but he was smaller than I thought, (although not small at all in reality!) A gentleman, very polite, very loyal to Richard and Sooty. And he's a pro. He just got into that gorilla outfit and did it. It was like he'd never been away.
I'm sure when you watch some of the episodes you won't be disappointed...
11. Which episode of Series 2 is your favourite?
Wink Taylor's done an incredible episode featuring Brian Blessed, which I've fallen in love with. I felt like a 5 year-old when I read it; it's just pure magic. So yes, that one!
12. You made a cameo appearance with fellow writer Wink Taylor in Chocco Chimp, do you pop up in the new series at all?
No, don't worry - you're safe! Sadly I couldn't make it to the filming this year. After my very memorable performance as Golfer #2, I insisted on a 1000% pay rise, a personal masseuse and a private jet, but Sooty never got back to me on that one...
13. You recently got to work with Doctor Who star Colin Baker in your audio show ‘Menston Green’. What was he like to work with?
He was very professional, and very witty. I actually learned a lot from him. Considering his Doctor Who was the most brash and bad tempered, the real man couldn't be further from that. The very fact that he did the recording demonstrates this. I mean, he travelled the length of the country to record a quirky little comedy with an unknown production company... How many people would do that? Absolute legend.
14. Can you tell us a bit about ‘Menston Green’ and what it’s about?
It's a radio comedy about a long-running soap that gets taken over by a dopey producer. It's starts off being a bit like Emmerdale but, over time, this incompetent man starts making these radical changes, and the whole thing descends into a science fiction nightmare. If you can imagine what it would be like to mix Countryfile and Star Trek, that's how insane it is! But as well as starring Colin Baker, it's also got Wink Taylor in it, providing us with a range of different voices, and Sooty's makeup artist no less - Wendy Abrahams! (And no mean performer in her own right.) So it's crazy stuff, and hopefully a fun 50 minutes of one's life. It's available to download at my website: skerratt-media.co.uk.
15. Thanks a lot for doing this interview! Do you have a message for the Sooty fans out there?
Tell everybody that you've met in your life EVER to stop whatever they're doing and treat themselves to a dose of Sooty! (Friends, relatives, people on the street...) He'll put a smile on their faces!