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Sooty still ‘amazingly popular’ at 70

Image copyright Getty Images/PA
Image caption Sooty has appeared in numerous shows for both the BBC and ITV

When Harry Corbett bought a bear glove puppet on Blackpool’s North Pier in 1948 to entertain his children, he could surely not have realised he was teaming up with a future TV icon.

Sooty, who turned 70 on Thursday, cost the then-engineer 7s 6d (about £11.50 in today’s money) but proved a bargain as he grew from those humble beginnings into a star of stage and screen, delighting generations of children on both the BBC and ITV.

Although he whispers into his co-stars’ ears, the rest of us have never heard him speak a word, as he prefers to let his wand and water pistol do the talking. And yet the “magical” bear has still managed to have a catchphrase – “Izzy wizzy, let’s get busy” – which his human companions have uttered to accompany his tricks.

Image copyright Jack Hulme
Image caption Before TV, Sooty did not have black ears – they were added so he could be seen on screen
Image copyright PA
Image caption Sooty with Harry Corbett and his sons David, nine (left) and Peter, six (centre), in 1955. Peter would go on to be better known as Matthew Corbett
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The pairing of Sooty and Harry Corbett was an instant hit, winning a public vote to take a BBC talent show title. And they knew a good place to buy musical instruments…

Richard Cadell, who has been keeping Sooty in check since 1998, said it was “an amazing achievement that Sooty is so popular after 70 years”.

But for him, the “secret is absolutely the simplicity of it all – everybody knows The Sooty Show”.

Image caption In 1965 Harry and Sooty appeared on Desert Island Discs. Their luxury item was a trumpet, while songs included My Favourite Things by Julie Andrews
Image caption Bears go to school and wear glasses too, you know
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Will there be a cake to rival this one for Sooty’s 70th birthday?

Sooty shot to fame four years after he and Corbett teamed up in the Lancashire resort, winning the BBC’s Talent Night programme in 1952 and bagging themselves a series shortly after.

TV also gave Sooty his black ears and nose, as Corbett decided to cover them with soot so they would show up on black and white transmissions – the colouring also gave the bear his name.

Image caption Sooty was handed from father to son in 1976, when Harry retired and Matthew took up the reins
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The bear’s madcap antics saw Matthew Corbett end most shows with a good soaking

Since then, Sooty has barely been off the screen, appearing in shows that have seen him show off his magic and comedy skills, run a hotel, work as a shop assistant and entertain several generations of children.

And he’s taken all his antics on to the stage too, appearing in pantomimes and Christmas shows for decades.

The controversy of Soo

Image copyright KPPR
Image caption Couples were getting together in front of the TV cameras long before Love Island

Corbett retired in 1976, shortly after moving to ITV, and Sooty was passed to his son, Matthew, who found equal success and an even wider cast of friends.

Most passing fans will know Sweep, a dog, and Soo, a panda, but they are far from the only pals to have appeared on screen with the bear.

There has also been air-time for Sooty’s cousin Scampi, Butch the dog, Sweep’s parents, two cats called Kipper and Miki, Soo’s Australian cousin Soola and a snake called Ramsbottom.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sooty has had a myriad of co-stars, but the best known is the cheeky dog Sweep. Here they are in their smartest winter attire
Image copyright PA
Image caption Such has been Sooty’s fame that he and his friends have also been immortalised in animation

Since Matthew Corbett’s retirement in 1998, it has been down to his Sooty Show co-star Richard Cadell to try and keep on top of the little bear’s antics.

He has taken Sooty back to Blackpool to celebrate his birthday with the unveiling of a plaque and a special day of celebration.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sooty has returned before to the spot where he met his mentor
Image copyright Steve Ullathorne
Image caption Richard Cadell joined the Sooty Show in the 80s and took charge in 1998

For him, Sooty’s enduring appeal is in his familiarity.

“Parents trust it and they know what they’re going to get,” he said.

“It’s good simple slapstick family friendly laughs from one of the most adorable characters in television history.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

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World’s largest king penguin colony has declined by 90%

Number of king penguins on the remote le aux Cochons has fallen from 2m to 200,000, warn scientists

The planets largest colony of king penguins has declined by nearly 90% in three decades, researchers have warned.

The last time scientists set foot on Frances remote le aux Cochons roughly half way between the tip of Africa and Antarctica the island was blanketed by 2m of the penguins, which stand about a metre tall.

But recent satellite images and photos taken from helicopters show the population has collapsed, with barely 200,000 remaining, according to a study published in Antarctic Science.

Why the colony on le aux Cochons has been so decimated remains a mystery.

It is completely unexpected, and particularly significant since this colony represented nearly one third of the king penguins in the world, said lead author Henri Weimerskirch, an ecologist at the Centre for Biological Studies in Chize, France, who first set eyes on the colony in 1982.

Climate change may play a role. In 1997, a particularly strong El Nio weather event warmed the southern Indian Ocean, temporarily pushing the fish and squid on which king penguins depend south, beyond their foraging range.

This resulted in population decline and poor breeding success for all the king penguin colonies in the region, Weimerskirch said.

El Nio events are cyclical events that occur every two to seven years, but they can be amplified by global warming, which itself produces many of the same results, albeit on a longer timescale.

Indeed, Weimerskirch and colleagues showed in an earlier study that climate change, on its current trajectory, will probably make the Crozet islands the archipelago that contains le aux Cochons unviable for king penguins by mid-century.

Migration is not an option because there are no other suitable islands within striking range.

Other factors may be contributing to the decline of the le aux Cochons colony, including overcrowding. The larger the population, the fiercer the competition between individuals, noted a statement from Frances National Centre for Scientific Research, which funded the study. The repercussions of lack of food are thus amplified and can trigger an unprecedented rapid and drastic drop in numbers.

But this so-called density-dependent effect can also be made worse by climate change, the study notes.

Another possible culprit is avian cholera, which has affected seabirds on nearby Marion and Amsterdam Islands, including some king penguins. But until Weimerskirch and other researchers return to le aux Cochons hopefully, he said, in early 2019 they wont know for sure.

It is also possible that invasive species such as rats, mice or cats, have found their way on to the island. The Red List of Threatened Species conservation status for king penguins is currently least concern, but the new data may prompt a reevaluation.

King penguins are the second-largest penguin species after the Emperor. They do not make a nest, but rather lay one egg at a time and carry it around on their feet covered with a flap of abdominal skin, called a brood patch. Parents take turns incubating the egg, switching every couple of weeks over a two-month period.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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UPDATED: The best Amazon Prime Day 2018 deals include Fire TV Stick, Bose headphones, 23andMe kits, and more

Image: BOB AL-GREENE / MASHABLE PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

Looking for the best Amazon Prime Day sales? You’ve come to the right place. We’ll be updating this post throughout Prime Day with all the best deals we can find, so bookmark this page now and keep checking back. 

Prime Day officially began at 3 p.m. EST on July 16 and lasts 36 hours — the longest Prime Day to date. Remember to sign up for an Amazon Prime membership so you can take advantage of all the deals and that free shipping hookup. Good luck!

Best Amazon Prime Day deals

Read on for more of the best deals below. We’ll be updating the list throughout Prime Day. 

Echo devices

Dash Buttons and Fire TV devices

Fire tablets and Kindles

Amazon services deals

Security cameras

TV deals

Laptop and monitor deals

Headphone and speaker deals

Gaming deals

Kitchen deals

Home deals

DNA kit deals

Stuff for your pet

Other tech deals

Amazon Prime Day 2018 coverage:

Read more: http://mashable.com/

adminadminUPDATED: The best Amazon Prime Day 2018 deals include Fire TV Stick, Bose headphones, 23andMe kits, and more
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Amazon has tons of Apple MacBooks on sale for Prime Day, but you better hurry

Macbooks + Prime Day = YAY!
Image: Pexels

I think it’s safe to say that Apple rules the world right now. Whether its constantly upgrading to the newest iPhone year after year or getting a new MacBook for work, nearly everyone has at least one Apple device. That doesn’t mean Apple products are cheap thought — quite the opposite, in fact. Well relax, Prime Day is here to help out.

If you find yourself in need of a new laptop, Amazon has plenty of MacBooks on sale as part of Prime Day. MacBooks are among the most popular and in-demand laptops on the market today. But they typically run a little on the expensive side. That means almost any deal on MacBooks is a good deal.

Thanks to Prime Day, there are some very, very good deals to take advantage of:

More Amazon Prime Day 2018 coverage:

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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Taylor Swift, James Corden To Star In ‘Cats’ Movie Musical

Taylor Swift has a new pet project.

The pop giant is set to star in a film version of the Broadway musical “Cats,” Deadline reported Friday.

And she’s got some formidable feline companionship in James Corden, Jennifer Hudson and Ian McKellen, the showbiz outlet noted.

“Cats” revolves around a tribe of cats with solid vocal chops. It’s one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history.

Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”) is directing the big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage evergreen, and it’s expected to begin shooting later this year, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Let the memory live again.

Swift’s own real-life cats, Olivia and Meredith, made news recently with a cameo in “Deadpool 2.” A photo of the two felines appeared on a T-shirt worn by the film’s star Ryan Reynolds in character.

But for “Cats,” Swift will have to be her own kitty.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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6 Of The World’s Most Luxurious Cat Hotels In The World

Cat owners and their cats demand the very best options in cat care, so it’s no surprise that luxury accommodation for our feline friends is on the increase. With cat sitters, cat boarders and catteries competing for business, the cat hotel industry had to pull out all the stops and boy, have they! Via: Style & Tails

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    VAC Cat Hotel & Spa – China

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    Via Vac-cat

    Vacation A Cat is a brand new state-of-the-art cat hotel, designed with the 21st century cat in mind. Based in the Chaoyang District, Deshang, the hotel has three floors with 15 individual spacious suites and a separate playroom for the kitty who needs entertaining for longer than usual. Between each suite are round windows on the wall that can be opened to create an interconnecting suite for for multi-cat families. Climbers, multi-level platforms and other fun hidey-holes ensure every cat owner is getting the best possible care for their much-loved mog. Each suite also has air-conditioning and CCTV. 

    Prices: From 350RMB per day (one cat) to 500RMB per day (2 cats) upwards. Discounts are offered for longer stays.

    Additional services include: Grooming / spa sessions


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    Longcroft. UK

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    Abi Purser Launched Longcroft in 2010 in response to the fact that she could not find a premium cattery in her area for her own beloved cat, Norman. It was the first boutique cat hotel opened in Welwyn Garden City. Longcroft boasts wrought iron designer cat beds, individually decorated bedroom suites, gourmet menus and grooming services, not to mention a choice of music and a team, whose sole job it is to come in and entertain the feline residents. It sounds to me like the cats are going to have a far better holiday than their owners! 

    Prices: From £17 a day (one cat) up to – £80 a day (family of 7-8 cats)

    Additional services include: Spa day + play session £45/  Mini bar snacks £1.50 to £3.50/ A La Carte Menu from £3.50


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    Divine Creatures, Sydney Australia

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    This state of the art, 5 star cat boarding hotel, located in Willoughby on Sydney’s lower north shore, was designed and created by veterinary professionals. Offering deluxe triple-level (often themed) condos and even a penthouse apartment where  multi-cat families can holiday together, this is a little slice of heaven down under. Facilities include a ‘jungle gym’ for additional recreation and entertainment, plus pussy pampering grooming sessions. I’m close to buying a cat suit and booking myself in! 

    Prices: From AUD$29.50 a day up to AUD$105 depending on type of suite and number of cats. 

    Additional services include: Online pet shop/ Grooming – AUD$45 – AUD$95


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    The INGS, UK

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    Based in West Yorkshire, This luxury cat hotel has designed its suites based on a luxury human hotel room, offering each lucky cat a luxurious, light and cosy suite. Stunning panoramic views across the fields and woodland ensures the furry guests are kept stimulated with local birds and other critters. Offering single suites to super-sized family rooms, plus an out door viewing balcony for up to four cats, The Ings ensures there is something for every type of cat owner. The 5 star service also includes under-floor heating throughout the winter, maintaining constant temperatures, and shading for a cool, well-ventilated environment during the summer months. Our cats can’t ask for more than that, although they will no doubt try!

    Prices range from £18 a day through to £50 depending on type of suite and number of cats.

    Additional services include: A La Carte menu £4 a meal/ VIP updates from £5 – £12/ Hunting toys and a salad bar £20


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    Hotel Cat UK

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    Hotel Cat was built to top hotel standards, offering lavish elegance and refined comfort with the additional luxury of abundant space. A small, intimate, family-run business with just seven suites, cats are given a personal one-to-one service that any cat owner would pay top dollar for. They are based in the idyllic and peaceful location of Sway in the New Forest, where birdsong fills the air and the scenery is sublime. With cats offered the option of a fine dining menu and a view through purpose-built glass doors and windows, Hotel Cat sounds like the purr-fect holiday.

    Prices: From £21 – £35 a day depending on the suite. Additional family members £7 a day extra.

    Additional services include: London Chauffeur Service £60 – meeting at Sunbury train station

    Fine Dining Menu from £3 per meal

    Additional Skype Calls £5 each


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    Aritside, Paris

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    Aristide is an urban hotel for Parisian cats that sulk if they do not get their way. Each suite has been designed with the nature of cats in mind. High ceilings, spacious hiding and spying posts, water fountains, grass salad bars, cat stairs and plenty of cat trees. There is even a TV for the cats, by way of large secure fish tank, as well as a secure playroom with unlimited access. Only the very best for the French fur bods, or the cats will go on strike! 

    Prices: From €26 a day up to €55 depending on type of suite and number of cats. A frequent traveller pass is available.

    Additional services include: Online pet shop/ Taxi service/ Souvenir photos – €2.50 a day, up to professional photo sessions – €125.00/ Grooming and massage €15 – €75