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Flower Pot Men - The name of Bill and Ben, two identical creatures with human faces and bodies made of flowerpots featured on the British children's puppet program FLOWER POT MEN/BBC/1952-70.

Ben, Weed and Bill - FLOWER POT MEN

Bill and Ben live in a garden by an old potting shed. Their best friend is a sunflower named Little Weed.

To communicate with each other, the Flower Pot Men use a nonsense language called "Oddle Poddle" that is interspersed with "flobbadob" sounding phrases. Their friend Little Weed uses the word 'wee-eed" to communicate such as 'wee-eed...wee-eeed." When Ben and Bill sang a song it was called "Flobbadobing".

Other visitors to the garden besides the human who owns the land where the Flower Pot men live included the slow moving tortoise named Slowcoach.

Opening Narration

"Once upon a time there was a little house.
And all around the house was a beautiful garden. And down at the bottom of the garden was a place where the man who worked in the garden left his things while he went in to the house to have his dinner..."

The Flower Pot Men only came out to play when the human who tended the garden walked away. Otherwise, Bill and Ben hid themselves inside a large flowerpot and only popped their heads out when they felt it was safe.

"Ooh flobbalobbalob flobbalob...flobbablob ullo little weed"

"Waddle oo tikoo dop? Gloob a waddle a hop"

The plotline for each episode was similar. As the gardener left the shed to get something to eat, out popped Ben and Bill from their flower pots. Then some mishap occurred. "Was it Bill or Was it Ben" the narrator asked.

After the problem was resolved, the gardener returned, Little Week warned of his coming and then Ben and Bill jumped back inside the safety of their flower pots.

 The show ended with the narrator singing: "Goodbye Bill. Goodbye Ben. Bill and Ben. Bill and Ben. Flower Pot Men."

TRIVIA NOTE: The Flower Pot Men series was created by Hilda Brabben in 1951. The idea for the show came from three stories which she wrote for BBC the 1940s radio show "Listen With Mother." The TV version of the FLOWER POT MEN first aired on the December 12, 1952.

 Produced by Westerham Arts Ltd. for the BBC, the 12 minute b/w episodes were shown every Wednesday as part of the popular "Watch With Mother" program.

Hilda named the marionettes Ben and Bill on the show after her own young brothers William and Benjamin. The phrase "Flobbadob" was the word her brothers used to describe the sound they made when "farting" in the bathtub. The Little Weed character was based on her sister Phyllis, the youngest of six children.

Ben, Weed, and Bill - FLOWER POT MEN
The new Ben, Weed and Bill

Thirty years later, Cosgrove Hall films made a new stop-action series called BILL AND BEN/BBC/2001-2002 (52 x 10 minute episodes) that revived the Flower Pot Men of old, but this time, they were in color and had lost their marionette strings. ('"We can make them better. We have the technology" a la The Six Million Dollar Man).

The new Ben and Bill were constructed of malleable metal skeletons, beneath brightly colored rubber faces and resin bodies. Bill wore a spotty orange bow-tie; Ben wore a spotty-green version.

Characters on the show included Boo the Hedgehog, Ketchup the Tomato (who lives in the greenhouse), Pry the Magpie, Scamper Squirrel, Whimsy Spider, and Whoops the Worm.

In the next door garden there lived the mischievous Scot the Thistle and the snotty Rose the rose, her two little children ('buds") as well as Tad the friendly frog.

The new show produced a pop tie-in record called Flobbadance (2002). Also to avoid confusion, the new narrator now translates their "Flobbadob" gibberish so viewers can understand them.

And the original Little Weed is now just called Weed. Her original limited vocabulary of just "wee-eed" has been expanded and as well as her persona which is an earth mother type.

The puppets from the 1950s show are now housed in the Museum of London.

Flower Pot Men Logo


Cast & Voice Credits

Peter  Hawkins as  Bill / Ben / Weed
Julia Williams as Narrator
Gladys Whitred
Julia WIlliams
as Voices, Sound Effects
Audrey Atterbury,
 Molly Gibson
as Puppeteers

BILL AND BEN/BBC/2001-2002

John Thomson as Bill / Narrator
Jimmy Hibbert as Ben
Eve Karpf as Additional Voices
Mackinnon & Saunders as Puppet Makers

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