- Flower Pot Men
In the 1950s and 1960s,
BBC televisionran a series of children's programmes under the collective title of " Watch with Mother". There was a different programme on each weekday, one of which was "Flower Pot Men". The characters were devised by Freda Lingstromand Maria Bird. Three later stories were by Hilda Brabban. The puppeteers were Audrey Atterburyand Milly Gibson. The voices and other noises were produced by Peter Hawkins, Gladys Whitredand Julia Williams.
plotchanged little in each episode. The programme always took place in a garden, behind a potting shed. There was a Little Weed, of indeterminate species, somewhat resembling a sunfloweror dandelionwith a smiling face between two large flowerpots. While the "man who worked in the garden" was away having his dinner, the two Flower Pot Men, Bill and Ben, emerged from the two flowerpots. After a minor adventure a minor mishap occurs; someone is guilty. "Which of those two flower pot men, was it Bill or was it Ben?" the narrator trills, in a quavering soprano; the villain confesses; the gardener's footsteps are heard coming up the garden path; the Flower Pot Men vanish into their pots and the closing creditsroll. The final punch-line was, "and I think the little house knew something about it! Don't You?".
The Flower Pot Men spoke their own unintelligible language called 'oddle poddle'; for example, "Hello, Little Weed" came out as, "Flobadob, Ickle Weed," to which the Weed would inevitably reply with tremulous
cadence"Weeeeeeeeeeed". This language, like that of the Teletubbiesin the 1990s, was criticised for hindering children from learning proper English. Fact|date=April 2008
Legend has it that
Hilda Brabbansold the rights to her stories to the BBCfor a mere three guineas (£3 3/–).
In 2001, a second series named "Bill and Ben" was produced for
CBBC, this time involving stop-motion animationand full colour. However, many additions were implemented:
* A mean
rosebushwith buds in the neighbours garden.
magpieobsessed by shiny treasures, often just bottle caps.
* Weed is no longer a
weed, but an enormous sunflower. Rather than whining, "Weed!", she can now speak proper English. She appears to play an " earth mother" role to Bill and Ben.
* [http://www.toonhound.com/flowerpot.htm Toonhound on the Flowerpot Men]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/characterpages/billandben/index.shtml CBeebies - "Bill and Ben"] at
* [http://www.whirligig-tv.co.uk/tv/children/watchwm/watchwm.htm Whirligig TV]
* [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/443702/index.html British Film Institute Screen Online]
* [http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/W/htmlW/watchwithmo/watchwithmo.htm The Museum of Broadcast Communication]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/1100031.stm "Flowerpot Men Bloom Again"] article at
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