Kiddies TV favourite, Ben the Flowerpot Man, one half of iconic showbiz duo, Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, has stunned BBC top brass by going missing just days before their new series is due to be aired.

A programme insider said: ‘We’re all gutted here as we’ve ploughed a lot of money and hard graft into the new series, but now Ben’s gone and jeopardised it all. Him and Bill were booked on the sofa tomorrow morning with Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty to do a publicity turn too. How could he be so selfish!’

It’s understood that the troubled star had recently been described by Bill as ‘being a bit down in the dumps’ at rehearsals. Speaking to reporters this evening and visibly shaken he revealed: “Uddap buddap slobbadap. Buddap buddap pobbledap” before breaking down inconsolably and having to be led away out of the glare of the lights and media’s cameras.

Little Weed, longtime girlfriend to both stars, something that in itself has been the cause of many rumours that all the three are living in an open relationship, has been upset by the news but has so far elected to keep quiet on the matter.

But in a long showbiz career this isn’t the first time that the the terracotta twosome have been involved in controversy, for as some may well remember, back in the seventies they were arrested at Heathrow for being in possession of four bags of John Innes potting compost when getting off a flight from Ibiza. The case was thrown out however on a technicality when the pair hired top barrister at that time, Horace Rumpole, to fight the case.

Police have requested that any members of the public seeing Ben keep their distance and phone the CeeBeebies giving details of the troubled star’s whereabouts.