Series five of "On the buses" was originally transmitted in 1971 at the end of the year. Series four had been partly in black and white because of a strike but this series was in colour.
This is now a classic British comedy and this is one of the better series. There are fourteen episodes including a Christmas edition at the end. This 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 gets mixed up with babies as a nursery is set up at the depot in episode one. In another episode he has to be best man at the wedding of the inspector`s neice. Other episodes see everyone exposed to the flu, a nurse for the depot comes to live at the Butlers, Stan does his back in and has to wear a surgical corset, The butlers get a new colour TV, Jack becomes an inspector, Arthur gets a wig to impress a new clippie on the bus and there is Boxing Day problems for Arthur.
These are just some of the funny situations the regular characters get into.
One thing about this series that is of note is that actors Bob Grant (Jack) and Stephen Lewis (Blakey) wrote two of the episodes. The rest of the episodes are written by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney.
Generally I don't think this series is as good as either series three or four but it is still worth watching and has plenty of entertainment.
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 Blake (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. The whole of series five is worth seeing either for the first time or a nostalgic re visit.