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I love the 'On The Buses' films and TV series despite their having been made before I was born. The characters and the way they interact are wonderful and enjoyable to watch.
The central characters are:
Sex mad bus driver Stan Butler played by Reg Varney
Equally sex mad conductor Jack Harper played by Bob Grant
Stan's widowed mum Mabel played by Doris Hare
Stan's frumpy sister Olive played by Anna Karen (who also worked as a model despite the way she was made up on screen and comments made about her figure by Arthur)
Olive's bald and tight husband Arthur played by Michael Robbins
Long suffering Inspector Blake (Blakey) played by Stephen Lewis
Olive and Arthur's son (Little Arthur) also made an appearance in the films
'Holiday on the Buses' was the last of the three films to be made. Sacked from the Luxton and district bus company (along with Blakey) Stan and Jack get work running a holiday camp bus. They arrive only to find their arch enemy working as head of security. Stan's family then come to stay for a week.
I do not wish to give away too much about the film and spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it. However (in a style typical to the TV series) Stan and Jack plot to be alone with 'birds', Arthur and Olive bicker and minor disasters (which must be hidden from Blakey) happen.
Although the film was made nearly 40 years ago it is still as entertaining as ever and one of my favourites. The series and films are still shown on TV these days which is a testament to their appeal and enjoyment value.
Even though I'm a child of the 80s, I hold a very dear place in my heart for 60s and 70s British comedy films, the gloriously low-budget, technicolour, slapstick marvels that they are. My husband initially couldn't understand my glee when I went through the TV listings and found an old Carry On movie or Steptoe Rides Again, but after a while he began to appreciate the cheese-fest that is British comedy and love it as much as I do.
Holiday on the Buses is an absolute classic. Released to the big screen (yes, this screened in theatres!) in 1973, it's one of my favourites. There were a few On the Buses movies, but this one shines for me.
Holiday on the Buses tells the tale of Stan Butler, who, with his mate Jack Harper, have been fired from their jobs as bus driver and clippie (it's the 70s..ask someone if you don't know!) and go off to Pontins to be holiday tour bus operators. Of course, it wouldn't be On the Buses if the rest of the crew weren't there, so imagine their dismay when the security guard turns out to be none other than the miserable old Blakey, who was also relieved of his duties as Stan and Jack's inspector in the bus depot.
Stan's sister Olive, brother-in-law Michael (and their son) and widowed mum Mabel all come for a week's stay when Stan manages to swing them a cut price chalet. Their storyline revolves around the kid repeatedly trashing the chalet and their spending the majority of their stay finding ways to repair and repaint the place so they don't have to pay a fine! Mabel manages to pull a randy old pensioner, Stan repeatedly fails to get his end away (despite a few near misses, something always goes wrong!) and Blakey's beloved, betrothed nurse has a bit on the side with Jack!
The film is just so cheerful, it's so cheesy and it's so very 70s. It's fabulous to see kids playing out and good old fashioned Carry On style fun, games and high jinx, it really makes you realise that technology doesn't always mean a better time. It's wonderful to see all the men lusting after curvy, wobbly, beautiful women, it reminds me that stick insects with size zero bottoms haven't always been the norm, and I love to see the old buildings, fashions and so on.
Modern films try so hard to be edgy and to be clever. They pile on the special effects, have everyone looking perfect, and they lose some realism there. Sure, Holiday on the Buses is no Oscar contender but it is what it is. It's got a special little place in mine and many other people's memories as the type of TV film that was on throughout the 80s when I was a kid, and it's great to see them again, usually on ITV3 or 4. In fact, if there was a channel dedicated to old 70s and 80s films and tv shows, I'd be sure to subscribe!
The movie tells a great story and it's great to see the 'Buses' crew outside of their usual setting. You can, if you look closely spot a lot of old-time TV stars, be it in cameos (Wilfred 'Steptoe' Brambell stars as the old-timer love interest, with an Irish accent - classic!) or just prior to their own big break (I spotted Terry of 'and June' fame, for a start, I guess the more of these cheesy movies and TV shows you have seen the more you will notice!).
British film has of course moved on since films like this and that's no bad thing - styles go in and out of fashion and technology has moved on in leaps and bounds. I think it'd be really wrong to dismiss films like Holiday on the Buses as nothing more than an embarrasing spin-off of a TV programme or a cheap British movie. Because it's so much more than that. The British comedies and the actors therein are part of the history of British film and are institutions. Any film student should, I think, have a special place on their DVD collection for films such as this.
All in all, Holiday on the Buses is by far one of the better British Comedy films of the early 70s and still gains laughs now, which means it's stood the test of time. The picture-postcard stylings and the fairly innocent raciness just add to it's charm.
As a movie, it's a 4/5 for me. No, it's no Oscar winner. But it was never designed to be, and I delight in watching it. An utter charm from start to finish!
Holiday on the Buses stars:
Reg Varney as Stan Butler
Stephen Lewis as Inspector 'Blakey' Blake
Doris Hare as Mrs. Mabel Butler
Michael Robbins as Arthur Rudge
Anna Karen as Olive Rudge
Bob Grant as Jack Harper
Wilfrid Brambell as Bert Thompson
You can buy Holiday on the Buses for £5 from most online retailers, or around £7 in larger HMVs. If you invest in a freeview box, it's on ITV 4 every few weeks :)
How times have changed, back in the late 60's/early 70's comedy on the small and silver screens was rather different to what we're used to today and On the Buses some might argue was the worst of the lot.
Anyone under the age of 40 might not remember but On the Buses was a very popular sitcom that ran from 1969 to 1973, 7 series, 2 specials and 3 movies were produced and for the most part they proved to be a huge hit. In fact the first movie was even more popular in the cinemas at the time than the James Bond offering that year (1971)
The 3rd and last movie produced in 1973 was Holiday on the Buses, I think the series had started to lose it's sparkle a little by now and the non-pc baudy humour along the lines of Benny Hill was beginning to take over but it's still good old fashioned all the same.
Principal cast -
Stan Butler, the star of the show - played as ever by the wonderful late Reg Varney
Mum Butler, Stan's mother - played by the late Doris Hare
Olive Rudge, Stan's Sister - played by Anna Karen
Arthur Rudge, Olive's Husband - played by the late Michael Robbins
Jack, Stan's conductor and partner in crime - played by the late Bob Grant
Inspector Blake (Blakey), Stan and Jacks boss - played by Stephen Lewis
Stan is a bus driver at a fictional bus company in Essex, Jack is his conductor and they both work under the watchful eye of inspector Blake or Hitler/Gastapo as he's often known. Stan lives with his Mum, his Sister Olive and her Husband Arthur. You have to wonder during the film and indeed the TV series why the pair of them got married as Arthur puts his wife down and insults her much to Stan's amusement.
One day after a few calamities too many involving crashing their bus and wrecking someones car they both get the sack as does Blakey and all 3 of them end up in the queue at the local dole office looking for work.
6 weeks pass without work for poor Stan and Jack as Arthur makes only too clear each day but then result, Jack spots an advert for bus drivers wanted for a summer season an a Pontins holiday camp. Mum isnt too happy with her dear Son leaving for the whole summer but he leaves nonetheless and lands a job as a driver taking holiday makers on day trips with Jack as his conductor (of course)
Stan and Jack spend their time in-between and often during their jobs, trying to pick up female passengers and holiday makers with Jack always having more success. One such attempt ends with their bus stranded on the beach when the tide comes in.
The fun really begins when Stan phones home and suggests the rest of the family take a holiday there, by now Arthur and Olive (amazingly) have a young son, also called Arthur who narrowly escapes being left behind when the family depart for their trip. Ever the miser Arthur refuses to fork out the £14 (!) for train fares and fits his relatives into his motorbike and side car for the ride. Unfortunately close to the site they come across Stan in his bus who cuts them up on a bridge, Arthur crashes his bus in the edge and their luggage flies off into the river, much hilarity ensures when Olive is dragged in to try and recover the cases. Of course their clothes are ruined so they have to make do with borrowing what ever they can find. In the pool one day Olive looses her tiny bikini bottoms which almost gives her 'beloved' Arthur a hernia.
Things never run smooth in the Butler/Rudge household and this continues away from home. As well as the ruined luggage problem there are exploding toilets, interfering Mothers, seasickness, upset Italians, paint in all the wrong places and more besides. The laughs come thick and fast though at times you have to cringe at the lewdness and crassness of it all as the boys do everything in their power to get their leg over.
The movie continues in the same vein until once again the boys are sacked and back in the dole queue, quite fittingly Stan ends up with a job that seems to suit him really well seeing as he's good it seems at destroying things.
If you're after an intelligent movie you should look elsewhere, this is the sort of film for a wet Sunday afternoon. Leave your brain and expectations at the door and simply sit back and giggle at the stupidness of the whole thing. We can scoff now but you have to remember this was made almost 40 years ago when times were different and women were seen almost as sex objects to be chased for sport. Keep that in mind and you'll be alright.
For me 'On the buses' is a true 70's classic. A National Treasure of a programme. Rpeats of the series' can often be seen on ITV3 (see listenings books as days and times do vary). Sometimes, if we, the viewers, are very lucky we get one of the films on tv. but if you love good old fashioned comedy and British humour at it's best I would reccommend you get the DVD's, so that this gem of a show and be enjoyed again and again.
Holiday On the Buses.
So who are the main characters
Stan the bus driver - played by Reg Varney
Jack his conductor - played by Bob Grant
Stan's Mum - played by Doris Hare
Olive, Jack's sister - played by Anna Karen
Arthur, Olive's husband - played by Michael Robbins
Blakey, Stan's grumpy boss,- played by Stephen Lewis
What's the plot ?
Stan and Jack somehow manage to wangle jobs at a holiday centre, much against Blakeys wishes. This being t.v. sitcom land means that the whole family end up going.
Stan and Jack are obviously going along to chat up the ladies.
Trouble is round every corner for Stan and Jack.
(Let's just say that things NEVER go quite according to plan - with hilarious consequences - and it's not quite the dream job they expected).
Best bits ?
Wilfred Bramble (old man Steptoe) chatting up Stan's Mum.
Olive getting up in the night and feeling all over the wall to find the light switch (not funny in itself, but the walls have been freshly painted - guess what happens ?)
So, it's funny ?
Yes, it is. It may seen a bit tame by todays standards but it is a classic.
If you remember the 70's series you will be so pleased you found this.
If it's new to you, there are laughes aplenty in every scene.
Why is it so good ?
The cast just gel so well together. The characters are so believable. The script is very well written. There are so many laughes you'll get stitch watching this.
If you like comedy go out and buy this.
So many laughs in so little time. Just the best.
When I think of comedy films, the first thing that always comes to mind is Carry On films and seem to forget On the Buses, however when I do actually think of them, I actually preferred them to Carry On films, they seemed a lot more real life.
Holiday on the Buses was a feature length film and an offspring of the series that they used to make. It followed the lives of two bus drivers and their families and the ups and downs that they had with their boss and the family in general.
Holiday on the Buses see's the two bus drivers, Stan and Jack having to take a coach load of people on holiday to a Butlins like camp. To them a holiday was bliss and the only thing on there mind was the women that might be away at the same time as them.
Stan has quite a strange family, mother that thinks the world of him and whom he still lives with because he hasn't settled down, sisten Olive, who is blind as a bat without her glasses and to look at her and how she comes across as a person just makes you laugh in the first instance anyway and Arthur, Olives husband, who gives her so much grief and comes across as though he doesn't like her that much, it makes you realise how they are still together. However in this feature length film, they have another addition with them, there son, who is only very small, around 2 years of age and mischief is the only thing on his mind.
With the family around Stan's plans do get shattered. His intentions are to pick up birds and take them back to his chalet, however this very rarely happen or if it does there is always someone there to disturb him. Where as Jack, who always seems to get more luck than Stan or most of the time always ends up with Stan's bird because the family ahve got in the way.
The film isn't complete without one other loveable character, who is completely annoying but likeable aswell and that is Blakey. Blakey used to be their boss in the series and other films however the two drivers are working for another company and thought they had finally got away, until they arrive and find that he is working for another company and is on the same holiday as them too. On several occasions within this film, he comes out with his famous saying - I'll Get You Butler!!!
All the character's have their own qualities and are all funny in there own right. No other family could humiliate themselves as much as this family do, they manage to blow up the chalet, you see Olive in all her glory when she loses her bikini in the swimming and mum dancing is just hilarious, to think she would win a dancing competition in that style, they have no hope.
Holiday On The Buses is a classic and no matter how many times you watch it, it still makes me laugh.
If you actually want to know all about On The Buses, I strongly suggest that you visit the definitive website at http://members.lycos.co.uk/busesfanclub/ and feed your lowest common denominator-o-meter to your heart's content on the most comprehensive collection of trivia and untold stories about the adventures of a rebellious bus crew Stan (the driver, played by Reg Varney) and Jack (the conductor, played by the lecherous Bob Grant) and their endless tormenting of the hated Blakey (the inspector, played by Stephen Lewis). Dig this: "Way back in 1969 a TV comedy series began with an episode called THE EARLY SHIFT. The show was On The Buses. It was about the life of a driver and his conductor working on the No.11 bus that ran to the cemetery gates. They were employed by Luxton and District Bus Depot and answerable to an Inspector who was the bain of their lives. The series was created and written initially by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chessney ... The series followed the exploits of Stan and Jacks lives. Their day to day living, how they dealt with authority and of course the all important job of chasing the opposite sex known as Birds." There's all this and much, much more to be found at this bizarre little site. It's astonishing isn't it, how you can come across the most slavish tributes to all manner of things that you never thought anyone would be bothered in the slightest about. I mean ON THE BLOODY BUSES? I ask you. The key thing about On The Buses, of course, was the relationship Stan Butler had with the rest of his family, Mum (normally played by Doris Hare), his atrocious sister Olive (Anna Karen) and his pompous brother-in-law Arthur (the inestimable Michael Robbins), and who could forget the terror of an encounter with that particular quartet? That was classically abysmal sit com a la ITV in the late Sixties and early Seventies, the total pits in terms of family entertainment, truly awful. How
ever, this op ain't about the TV series (although you can't help recalling it), it's actually about Holiday On The Buses, the third movie spin off from the series (following the obviously titled On The Buses and Mutiny On The Buses) released in 1973. Another website - found at http://www.plowrie.clara.net/videos.htm - contains the bare bones of a plot which clearly showed that by now things were wearing decidedly thin. There were only so many variations on a theme you could squeeze out of this one, and we'd reached the end of a road: "Stan reverses into the General Manager's car after being distracted when a woman's top falls off (yes, it's THAT bad!). Stan, Jack and Blakey get sacked. Stan and Jack manage to get a job in a holiday camp (Pontins), driving the buses on hilarious magical mystery tours (they're great!). They arrive there only to find that who else has been positioned there? Give up? It's BLAKEY! Bet you didn't see that one coming! There's the team's normal frolics, and these only increase when Stan's family decide to come and visit him. Stan finds a lovely Essex girl, but when he tries to take her out, her mum always sees them! Comic genuis! They eventually go on a boat trip, but Stan gets seasick, and there's no hows-your-father for him, so Jack steps in (the randy old goat!). Blakey gets friendly with the nurse, but Jack, unable to control his libido, gets lucky with her, and has to escape through the window! At the end, Stan and JAck decide to tack two lovely ladies out on there own, very magical mystery tour (hehehe), parking the bus on the beach while they have a bit of you-know-what. When they try to leave, however, they find that the bus has sunk in the sand and they can't move it! They decide to leave it until the sand has dried, but come back later to fund that it's half under water! And it ends on that!" Apologies for the lengthy cut and pastes here,
but part of the magic of such programmes and spin offs is the total direness of the material and the lavish, deprecating homages paid to the same. Crap TV, as epitomised by such classics as Opportunity Knocks, Love Thy Neighbour, Yus My Dear and Family Fortunes, certainly tests the mettle of all who happen across it. But the interesting thing is the genuine love people have for the genre of "so bad it's good", a real paradox in action. On The Buses is one of the true classics of the genres, if classics indeed be a description, for it was uniquely, extraordinarily, peculiarly abysmal and awful, chewing away ignobly at your very soul. The acting is bad, the writing is bad, the canned laughter is bad, the Birds are bad, and these middle aged ugly men endlessly chasing the clippies (the peak of Bird-dom at the time was the mini skirted clippie) intent on a "leg over" or "crackling" or "a bit of the other" or "having it away" or a million other such phrases, is genuinely chilling and embarrassing. The greasy Reg Varney and the frizzy haired, horse toothed Bob Grant were truly two of the least desirable examples of manhood you can imagine, with only the presence of the truly scary Blakey making them seem even halfway human. The creation of the Hitler-moustached Inspector was a wondrous piece of television magic, a character with no depth, sympathy or redeeming facets whatsoever. Still, in the face of the lovable Stan and Jack, you usually found yourself rooting for the bad guy to win out in the end. Stephen Lewis went on to appear fleetingly in One Foot In The Grave and latterly in the despicable Last Of The Summer Wine and is one of the strangest creatures ever to be wished upon a terrified studio audience. He actually remembers this trash very fondly, with his contribution in one interview containing the following (read it and weep): "It wasn't like work at all. It was great fun you
know. The scripts were good and it was always worthwhile working on it. It was just easy, something the public knew about - buses. Everyone used to know about buses. We used to film in the street so we were always with the public, not like in a studio. We went to a real bus station in London to work, and London Transport wouldn't have us. They got a letter from London Transport at the beginning of the series saying that they felt it might damage their image. The director framed this letter and hung it in his office. We had to use Eastern National Bus Company (much laughter) which went out of Wood Green. We had a lot of fun there because they'd had a sort of running strike for three months before we started, so manager/worker relations were not too good, and we got loads of angles from that which I was to embody and put in to the part. "All the films were funny. Some of them were quite dangerous. In "Mutiny on the Buses" there's a scene in the bus garage with foam used and I slipped in the foam and went into the pit under the bus. It was real foam we used to make it look good, you know, and I went completely under the foam. While I was down there waiting for the signal to come up I realised suddenly, how dangerous it was, because as I breathed in, the foam went into my throat, and I suddenly rose up and started to choke. I tried to get out of the pit but it was all slippery, and I kept slipping back. It was one of the guys on the crew who realized how dangerous it might be and he started reaching down into the pit and grabbed me. It was him pulling me and more people pulling me up, but I had to be given respiration. It was very, very dangerous. The scene itself looked very, very funny. The director said that it was well worthwhile. There's the one with the lion in the bus in the same film. The favourite is the skid pan from "On the Buses", lavatories blowing up - they're all very dangerous." Yeah, well, I
9;ll take your word for it Stevie. Oh, by the way, Holiday On The Buses also features Henry McGee (Benny Hill) and Wilfred Brambell (Steptoe and Son).
I always see the On the Buses films on TV..there are 3 of them in total. But I rearly ever see the series that the films were based on - I would just love to see the whole series as I love the films. They are made in a Carry On style - suacy 60s/70s style, great saucy humour, fun for the children too who don't wuite undertand some of the saucy jokes though. It= is hilarious watching Blakey..the bus inspector and Stan and Jack..driver and conductor ..fighting it out with Stand and Jack nearly always coming out on top. This time..they all get scaked though and coincidntally, much to Blakey's dismay, all end up working at the same holiday camp. With great fun and hilarious consuequences!
Apparently On The Buses was a really popular sitcom back in the 60's, they made about 3 spin off films from the series. My favourite is Holiday On The Buses. The film is about two men Jack and Stan who work on the buses Stan is a bus driver and Jack is a conductor. Their boss is Blakey who is a right Pratt. Jack and Stan are always in trouble, so when they crash the bus in the depot, Stan, Jack and Blakey are all sacked. The three are then jobless, Blakey gets a job with Butlins in Great Yarmouth as a sercuity guard, he thinks he is the cats whiskers, as he's finally got away from the hapless pair. Stan lives at home with his mum, sister Olive and Olive's son and Olives husband Arthur. The pair get a job at Bultins driving the pleasure bus. When Blakey finds out the pair are working there he is livid and can't believe his bad luck. Stan invites the family down on a discounted holiday, but the family wreck havoc at the camp. It hard to tell you about the film, it would take to many words, so I will tell you about the characters instead. Jack: Jack is about 50 he thinks he is Jack the lad, he always has a woman on the go, him and Stan are best mates. Stan: Stan is about 35 he is desperate to get married and settle down, but everytime he meets a woman it always goes wrong for him, he never ever gets to shag anybody. Blakey: Blakey is a right Pratt, he is what you would call a little Hitler, Stan and Jack love winding him up. Olive: Olive is probably the most ugliest woman you could hope to meet, she is married to Arthur the problem is though she a nymphomaniac, but Arthur never gives it to her. Arthur: Arthur is really horrible to Olive, he treats her like dirt, but the trouble is he can't see what an idiot he is. Little Arthur: Little Arthur is Olive and Arthur's son, Arthur spends most of his time on the potty, and farting. If you watch this film you will find i
t completely hilarious, it is a little bit dirty, but not in a bad way, even children could watch this film, I can't see it offending anyone. If you haven't watched on the buses before, you will definitely love the film.