Children's TV favourite Ben the flowerpot man, one half of iconic duo Bill and Ben the flowerpot men, has stunned BBC top brass by going missing just days before the new series of the revamped once top-rated show was to due be aired on CBeebies.
A spokesman for the broadcaster commented, "We're all gutted here and if I'm being honest feeling more than just a little betrayed. We've ploughed a lot of money into the new-look show but now Ben's gone and blown it in one moment of madness! I just don't think he can ever be forgiven for this. He was due to do a promo on Graham Norton later this week and now that's all up in the air."
It's understood that the troubled star, described recently by his long time pal Bill as having been "A bit down in the dumps just lately," disappreard shortly before he was to appear on ITV's Daybreak breakfast programme this morning. Speaking from the bottom of the garden this lunchtime Bill told reporters, "Uddap buddap slobbadap. Buddap buddap plobbadop," before breaking down inconsolably and being led away by Old Slowcoach the tortoise.
Meanwhile the show's female lead Little Weed is said to be distraught at Ben's disappearance, but has so far elected to remain silent on the matter. It's no secret in kiddie's TV circles that she was recently named as being at the centre of a steamy love triangle between the show's two leads, and speculation is rife that this is why Ben has chosen to go into hiding at this time.
It's not the first time that the flowerpot men have courted controversy as back in the sixties Ben was famously accused of having been in possession of three bags of John Innes Potting Compost. The case was thrown out then however when the star's legal team enlisted the help of top gardener Percy Thrower as an expert witness at the trial.
Police have requested that members of the public do not approach Ben if they see him as he is believed to be "unstable and dangerous". Instead they should call the BBC and keep him under observation until help arrives.