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Everything's rosy in our garden now.

BOB: Hello Bill (shakes hands) and hello Ben.

Ben: Sorry, he's Bill.

Bill: And he's Ben.

Bob: It's been a long time since we've seen you guys.

Bill: Yes, it's been 27 years now.

Ben: And we made our debut 40 years ago on Watch with Mother.

Bob: So what have you been doing?

Bill: Well, I used my experience and opened a chain of garden centres.

Ben: And I was very lucky. I won pounds 12million on the flowerpot lotto, the National Pottery.

Bob: Are you going to use a Little Weed in this new series?

Bill: Hey man, we don't do drugs anymore.

Ben: Yeah, all that pot in the Sixties was heavy duty, man.

Bill: Remember that spotty dog? Man, for the first 10 years I could have sworn he was a zebra

Ben: Them Woodentop dudes were really into it. Some days you thought they were walking around on strings.

Bob: No I meant Little Weed, your co-star. She used to go Weeeeee! whenever the gardener was coming.

Bill: Yeah, she had a thing about that gardener guy.

Ben: But she's coming back for our new series.

Bob: Is there any change to the old format?

Bill: Well, we get to have guest stars dropping into the potting shed for a chat.

Ben: We're a sort of Ally McCos and Fred McCauliflower.

Bob: So who have you got lined up?

Bill: Hey, we've got a cookery slot with Dahlia Smith.

Ben: And music from Basil, Sage, Ginger and Garlic.

Bob: Who?

Bill: The Spice Boys. They're going to be huge.

Ben: And a few politicians - Sweet William Hague, Donald Dewberry and Peter Lilly. We might even get Pansy Portillo.

Bob: Where did you start out?

Bill: We started out as bedtime stories written 70 years ago by Hilda Brabbam from Castleford in West Yorkshire.

Ben: Yes, she made them up for her little brothers, William and Benjamin.

Bill: And the original little weed was their little sister Phyllis.

Ben: The boys were quite naughty and their mum used to say 'Was it Bill or was it Ben?' That's where the line in the series came from.

Bob: You're joking.

Bill: No! And wait until you hear where all that flobadob stuff came from ... Ben: That was the noise the boys made when they broke wind in their bath!

Bob: Is this a wind up? Get it . . 'wind' up? Ha. Ha.

Bill: We'll do the funnies, Bob.

Ben: Frieda Lingstrom of the BBC picked up on the stories and adapted them for TV in 1952.

Bob: And what about Hilda, did she make a fortune?

Bill: No, Frieda denied any link to Hilda. She never made a penny. But the last we heard she was still alive and living in Sussex aged 82.

Ben: But Castleford Council were trying to raise a Bill and Ben statue in Hilda's honour.

Bob: So why do you think the BBC want you to come back?

Bill: I think they're short of a few flobabob. There's pots of money in flowerpot men.

Ben: Yes, the BBC always thought money grew on trees. So I guess they've planted a few seeds with us

Bill: We've got more earning power than anyone. There are so many cash earning spin-offs. Our 1988 video made pounds 4million, not bad for a handful of episodes probably made in the Fifties for pounds 400!

Ben: And with the videos will come the puppets, toys and games. The kids will be drinking out of Bill and Ben mugs and wearing Little Weed baseball caps. You only have to look at the appeal of the Teletubbies, or that old git Postman Pat.

Bill: But we're older than Postman Pat.

Ben: Sshhhh. But the kids will think we're new, won't they?

Bill: And there's a worldwide market out there. Kids in France, Germany and even China laugh at the same simple things as British kids.

Bob: So when do we see you back on screen?

Bill: It's all top secret stuff but we've already started shooting. Watch out for us as part of a major Millennium package to be announced near Christmas.

Bob: We'll, thank you Bill and Ben, you've been a pleasure to interview.

Bill: Yes, people keep saying how down to earth we are . I wonder why?
COPYRIGHT 1999 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Shields, Bob
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 11, 1999
Previous Article:Pub music.
Next Article:BBC pin hopes on remaking children's favourites.

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