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Alex Bulgo (London, UK)

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On the Buses: The Complete Story
On the Buses: The Complete Story
by Craig Walker
Edition: Hardcover

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Express Service, 9 Nov. 2009
Considering we have waited 36 years for a book on this iconic series, I had high hopes. In fact, I was hoping for something along the lines of Robert Ross's excellent 'The Carry On Story' - rich in photos, behind-the scenes tidbits, clippings, cuttings and juicy ephemera. What I got instead was a bitter disappointment.

A book like this is unlikely to attract a casual buyer - you'd have to be a die-hard Luxton & District passenger to jump on board for the £13 ride. Sadly it misses out a lot of stops en route and when you reach the terminus you wonder what happened to the journey. About half the book is devoted to an episode guide, bios of bit-part players and rather too extensive credit lists for the main cast (Michael Robbins' consumes four pages, though if it were not double spaced and centred it might only use up two pages). Any die-hard fan will already know the episodes inside out and while the bit part players are of some interest, most of this information, as well as the main artist's CVs, are available free of charge on IMDB. Photographs are black and white, rather small to be of much use, and are all of the locations as they appear today. There are no stills from episodes or behind the scenes.

Ronalds Wolfe and Chesney contribute a fairly brief forward that has some interesting anecdotes, but beyond this there is little from the cast and crew. Yes, most of them are sadly no longer with us, but surely some archive interview material from magazines or newspapers exists that could be quoted? Where are interviews with Anna Karen and Stephen Lewis who are still with us? Memories from the making of the show? How about some production stills, or behind-the-scenes views? Surely Ms Karen or Mr Lewis have some to contribute? Call sheets, original scripts, clippings from archive TV Times?!! Funny stories during filming...Surely some material exists somewhere in the ITV vaults or the two Ronalds attics? For a source of interesting trivia you'd do better to log onto the On the Buses fansite - free of charge.
It all adds up to a rather simplistically written wasted opportunity and a rather lazy attempt a project that deserved better.

One for the completists only, but by no means the complete story.

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