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Lunchtime Comedy: On the Buses – S01 E07 – The Darts Match


The ITV series with Reg Varney,Stephen Lewis

This episode is in a lousy format – sound adequate


On the Buses is a British television sitcom that was broadcast on ITV from 1969 to 1973. It was created by Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe, who wrote most of the episodes. It spawned three spin-off feature films and a stage version. Despite the writers’ previous successes with The Rag Trade and Meet the Wife with the BBC, the corporation rejected On the Buses, not seeing much comedy potential in a bus depot as a setting. The comedy partnership turned to Frank Muir, Head of Entertainment at London Weekend Television, who loved the idea; the show was accepted and despite a poor critical reception became a hit with viewers.

In many ways it was ghastly, but perhaps it was a far better reflection of society as it was, than the pap we get fed today.

After all edgy today is feeling sorry for old white men (sarcasm – perhaps)

Main characters

  • Reg Varney as Stanley “Stan” Butler – a bus driver who works for the Luxton and District Traction Company along with Jack and Blakey. He lives with his mother Mabel, sister Olive and brother-in-law Arthur. Stan often chats up the clippies at the bus depot.

  • Cicely Courtneidge (series 1) and Doris Hare (series 2–7) as Mabel “Mum” Butler, Stan’s mother. She is a maiden in distress when it comes to money. The Butler household is forever losing money and regularly getting the electricity cut off. Mabel is frequently caught up in arguments between Arthur, Olive and Stan.

  • Anna Karen as Olive Rudge, Stan’s sister. Olive is always being criticised by her husband Arthur, even though she helps her mum with household jobs and frequently helps Stan with the decorating. Olive has twice been a clippie at the bus depot, both times being unsuccessful. She is always wanting “an early night” with Arthur, much to his displeasure.

  • Michael Robbins as Arthur Rudge, Stan’s brother-in-law. Somewhat aloof and stuck up, he frequently resists Olive’s intimate advances. His hospital operation is a frequent source of ridicule from Stan and Jack. (Although the nature of the procedure is never disclosed, it is implied to have been a vasectomy or a hernia). Arthur is always tampering with his motorbike, which usually falls apart.

  • Bob Grant as Jack Harper, Stan’s conductor, best friend (although throughout the series he regularly attempts to discredit Stan by underhanded means, such as innuendo, accusation or the like) and next-door neighbour. He and Stan are always getting into trouble and getting reprimanded by Inspector Blake. Whether it is tampering with radio controls, putting “DIVERSION” road signs in the wrong places or going on dates with the buxom clippies, they are always getting into scrapes. Jack is also the shop steward of the bus depot, and frequently abuses his position to thwart Blakey’s schemes, usually with the catchphrase “As shop steward I am here to tell you…..”.

  • Stephen Lewis as Cyril “Blakey” Blake – the inspector at the bus depot. Whenever there is a “brilliant idea” at the bus depot, it is usually Blakey’s. These are usually elaborate schemes to temper Stan’s and Jack’s frequent insubordination, or to entrap them in their misadventures in a bid to get them fired. However Blakey’s schemes typically backfire with hilarious consequences, and land him either in trouble with the General Manager or in hospital.

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