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BBC pin hopes on remaking children's favourites.

THEY were the Teletubbies of their day and icons of a generation.

Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, Andy Pandy and The Woodentops were cult viewing for children in the 1960s.

Now characters from the three series are being brought out of retirement to star in revamped versions of the old BBC shows.

Production is said to have already begun on 13 new 10-minute episodes of Bill and Ben. Work on Andy Pandy and The Woodentops will start next year.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We are not denying we are hoping to make these old favourites but we can't reveal any more details at this stage."

All three shows were part of the Watch With Mother series.

It is not yet known who will do the voices for the new productions but industry insiders believe the actors are likely to be big names.

Nigel Stone, producer of ITV's Dream Street, said: "Gone are the days when children's programmes are made by the man who works in the corner shop.

"These days, they're directed by top Hollywood guys and the actors involved in the voiceovers are household names."

Meanwhile, BBC1 Controller Peter Salmon yesterday attacked ITV show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? as "all about money from top to bottom". Salmon spoke after BBC1's audience slumped to almost its lowest-ever level on Wednesday.

Only 1.9million people were watching BBC1 as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? reached its conclusion that night.

Salmon added scheduling the show every night for a week limited the types of programmes available to viewers.

He said: "If you are not careful, it can replace all those things that we cherish and want to keep alive as well."
COPYRIGHT 1999 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Oakenshot, Isabel
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 11, 1999
Words:283
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