Series four of "On the buses" was originally transmitted in 1971 in colour and Black and white. It should have been in colour but there was a strike and there was limited production crew and equipment.
This is now a classic British comedy and this is one of the better series. There are thirteen episodes, which was very long for a comedy series back in the 1970s and still is a long run of episodes even today.
There are some good episodes with some good farcical situations. For example Stan and Jack have no where to take their girlfriends except on the back of the bus, but Blakey is always around. And in another episode they are happy that Blakey is leaving until the new inspector comes. Then they both have to work on Christmas Day in episode five. There is a similar plot to one in series three for episode nine. Back in series three Stan tried to re decorate Olive's bedroom by using Bus green paint that he nicked from the depot. Here he promises to re cover his moms upholstery but can only get hold of material used for bus seats. Will Blakey find out?
These are just some of the funny situations the regular characters get into.
Stan Butler is a driver for a London bus company. He works with conductor Jack, his mate. They work the number 11 bus to the cemetery gates. Stan and Jack are always trying to dodge their Inspector Blakey who is always trying to catch them up to no good.
Stan lives with his widowed mother, and a dowdy sister Olive and her husband Arthur. Stan gets into farcical situations usually as a result of trying to date a busty clippie. He never seems to get a life of his own while under the watchful eye of his mother.
Stan and Jack seem like the focal characters in each episode. But the other characters are equally important to the success of the show. The whole concept is full of great characterisations. For example Arthur is always critical of Stan and his antics and often has something to say when Stan is skiving, scheming or ogling girls, and yet he is lazy, mostly unemployed and doesn't miss an opportunity to impress the ladies himself. Also Olive is an important character. She is presented as very ordinary, fat, dowdy, not glamorous, short sighted and a bit dim. But you cannot help but feel sorry for her with her kind hearted manner and how she becomes the butt of jokes and comments from the likes of Stan and Arthur. And at the same time this situation creates some great farcical comedy moments. Olive wants her marriage to work and has an idealistic and dreamy outlook while Arthur gives the impression he is less enthusiastic, middle aged and stuck with a less than glamorous life. This is more amplified by the comparable bachelor free lifestyle set by Stan.
Stan's Mother also is a great character. She has Stan under her thumb. She doesn't want anything in proper happening. This provides farce as Stan often has no where else to take his girlfriends except his moms house.
It goes without saying that the character of Inspector Blake is a good one. He tries to keep things in order at the depot as Stan and Jack get up to mischief. He is ripe for comedy situations and his catch phrase "I hate you butler" is certain to at least raise a predictable smile.
All of the characters are played by a fine cast. And all of the actors have perfect comedy timing.
Network DVD has not done any restoration on these episodes that I can see, but the picture and sound are very good indeed. However there is some blunt editing in the episodes where the advert break and break bumpers would have been. But that's only a minor problem. The whole of series four is worth seeing either for the first time or a nostalgic re visit.