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Classic TV Revisited: The Flowerpot Men

The Flowerpot Men

The Flowerpot Men, a children’s show with puppets Bill and Ben (and not forgetting Little Weed) began in 1952 and was repeated until the ’70s. It was later revived for a new generation by the BBC in the early 2000s.

Why was it golden?
It’s a classic kids’ favourite. No one of a certain age can forget the gibberish which spouted from Bill and Ben’s lips.

Such as?
Flibadob and Flobadob for starters. Bill and Ben would also greet their pal Little Weed with “Hadop, Little Weed” or “Weeeeed!”

How did it work?
While the mysterious Gardener was at lunch Bill and Ben would get up to mischief.

What kind?
They usually pinched or broke something in the garden. Every episode ended with an interrogation in the form of the soprano aria, “Was it Bill or was it Ben?”

Did we ever find out whodunnit?
Not really, because the two string puppets would leap into their pots when they heard the Gardener’s footsteps.

Who was the brains behind Bill and Ben?
It’s credited to Freda Lingstrom, the BBC’s first head of children’s TV, but others say it was Hilda Brabban.

Who’s Hilda?
She wrote the original stories and based Bill and Ben on her brothers William and Benjamin and Little Weed on sister Phyllis.Her stories were aired on radio as part of Listen with Mother. The characters were then developed for TV on Watch with Mother.

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