Set around a London bus depot, On the Buses
starred Reg Varney as Stan, an ageing bachelor and driver of the No.11 bus who still lives with his Mum (Cicely Courtneidge), his plain sister Olive (Anna Karen) and disgruntled brother-in-law Arthur (Michael Robbins). At work, he fraternises with the laddish and lecherous Jack (Bob Grant), with whom he pursues innumerable (and improbable) giggly, mini-skirted "clippies" (conductors) and cheeks the beady-eyed and punctilious bus inspector, Blakey (Steven Lewis)
This first series was broadcast in black and white in 1969. Much of the comedy derives from gender role reversal--Stan and Arthur forced to do the household chores when Olive and Mum fall ill ("Family Flu"); "The Canteen", in which the busmen decide to run the canteen themselves; or "The Darts Match", in which Stan and Jack are bested at darts by--imagine--a pair of dollybird clippies.
Despite its immense popularity, On the Buses hasn't dated well. Like the buses themselves, the jokes don't arrive very often and when they do, they're visible a long way off. The studio audience whoops cathartically at anything remotely alluding to sex, making you wonder at the repressed nature of British society in 1969. In later decades it would come to be treasured as somewhat creaky kitsch by audiences nostalgic for an age of politically incorrect innocence.
On the DVD: On the Buses has no extra features here. The original black and white versions have scrubbed up reasonably well, although defects such as fading sound and poor dubbing have proven beyond amendment. --David Stubbs
All three feature length spin-offs from the popular TV series, which follows the fortunes of the workers in a Northern bus depot. In 'On the Buses' women drivers are to be introduced on the service and the lads aren't too happy about it. In 'Mutiny on the Buses' Stan Butler (Reg Varney) decides to marry Suzy, causing much consternation amongst the rest of the family who rely on Stan's money. Arthur implements a plan where he learns to drive a bus, while Stan blackmails the Depot Manager into giving him the new Special Tour Bus route - a move that can only lead to confusion and disaster. Whilst in 'Holiday on the Buses' Jack (Bob Grant) and Stan (Varney) are forced to find work driving tourbuses for a Welsh holiday camp after losing their jobs at the depot. Imagine their horror when they discover that Blakey (Stephen Lewis) is Camp Security Inspector!
Manufacturer: Optimum Home Releasing