Kiddies TV favourite, Ben, one half of iconic showbiz duo, Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, has stunned BBC top brass by going missing just days before the much-heralded reboot of their classic show.
A programme insider said: 'We're all gutted as a lot of cash has been ploughed into the new series, but now Ben's gone and jeopardised it all. He was booked with Bill to appear on the sofa tomorrow morning with Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty, too. How could he be so selfish!'
It's understood the troubled star had recently been described as 'being a bit down in the dumps' at rehearsals. Speaking to reporters this evening and visibly shaken longtime pal Bill choked: 'Uddap buddap slobbadap. Buddap buddap pobbledap' before breaking down inconsolably.
Little Weed, longtime 'GF' to both stars, something that in itself has been the cause of many rumours that all three are living in an open relationship, has so far remained tight-lipped.
But in a long showbiz career, this isn't the first time that the the terracotta twosome has been mired in controversy; once famously having been arrested at Heathrow for being in possession of four bags of John Innes potting compost when getting off a flight from Ibiza.
Police have requested members of the public seeing Ben should not approach him but contact CBBC instead.