Nostalgia: Flobberdobberdobberdobber... what a fight over Bill and Ben

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A Yorkshire grandmother was hit with a gagging order after she claimed to have invented children’s TV characters Bill and Ben, the Flowerpot Men. Hilda Brabban, maintained she based the characters on the antics of her little brothers, Bill and Ben Wright, at their Castleford home.

But she was prevented from appearing oni TV to talk about the subject after solicitors acting for former BBC Children’s head and official” creator Freda Lingstrom, who held the copyright.

They said they would sue Hilda if she appeared on ITV’s Barrymore.

Hilda, who was recovering from a stroke at the time, said she wrote the stories for the BBC’s Listen With Mother series.

Ben’s widow, Betty Wright, described Hilda as a “shy, honorable, retiring woman”, addind: “Hilda sent no end of stories to the BBC. She still has dozens at home in a box.”

Retired schoolteacher Hilda died in 2002 aged 88. It has always been accepted she sold tories about boys called Bill and Ben to the BBC and these were broadcast on Radio 4’s Listen with Mother in 1951. They were based on the antics of her younger brothers, William and Benjamin Wright. However, Miss Lingstrom claimed she invented the TV programme.

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