Big Ben is a character introduced in the Rankin/Bass television special Rudolph's Shiny New Year, named after the clock tower of the same name in London. He is a whale who resides in the waters surrounding the Archipelago of Last Years. After saving Rudolph from a vicious attack by Aeon the Terrible, he carries him to various islands throughout the years where he meets several companions who all band together to find Happy, the missing Baby New Year.
Ben is instrumental in chasing down Aeon when he has captured Happy for the first time, racing to keep up with him. As they are about to get away, Ben heaves up a huge mass of water from his blowhole and breaks Happy free from the stolen custody of Aeon. Although Happy quickly becomes lost again, Ben continues to provide safe passage for his friends.
Ben made a reappearance in Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July. After the evil Winterbolt forces Rudolph to take the blame for stealing money from the Circus by the Sea, Rudolph encounters Ben on the nearby beach and explains his troubles to him. Ben heads off to South America and later returns with Jack Frost, whose icy breath restores Frosty and family to life after they are melted as a result of Winterbolt's magic amulets wearing off.