Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men Marionettes

1998 in unknown place
Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men Marionettes

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Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men Marionettes
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Reproduction of Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men marionettes commissioned to appear in the BBC's ‘Little People’ children’s television promotion (1998-1999).

Bill and Ben, the Flower Pot Men were popular BBC children’s television puppet characters.

'The Flower Pot Men' was first broadcast on 12 December 1952. It was the second programme conceived by Freda Lingstrom, Head of BBC Children’s Broadcasting, and Maria Bird under their production company Westerham Arts. The show was made at Lime Grove Studios. In 1953 the show was brought under the new 'Watch With Mother' banner with similar puppet programmes aimed at the very young. Episodes were produced until 1954 then regularly repeated. A stop-motion remake, 'Bill and Ben', was created in 2001.

The characters Bill and Ben lived in flower pots at the bottom of a garden, either side of their friend Little Weed, and hid whenever the gardener was coming. Though identical puppets, each was distinguished by their voices, Bill’s higher and Ben’s lower. They spoke their own gibberish language, with stories described by a narrator.

The original Bill and Ben puppets are now in the collection of the Museum of London.

These replicas were produced at larger than original scale for the BBC promotional film 'Future Generations: Small People' which premiered as part of Children in Need in 1998. The film was a successor to the BBC’s 'Perfect Day' promo celebrating music at the BBC. 'Small People' highlights the importance of the licence fee in funding programming for young people. The film follows child actor Scott Chisholm through memorable scenes from children’s television history by superimposing the actor or recreating famous scenes. Bill and Ben appear with other puppet characters from the 1950s.


BBC Heritage Collection
Object Number:
paint, textile and wood (unidentified)
overall (each puppet): 600 mm x 215 mm x 140 mm, 2.5 kg