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On the Buses The Movie (1971, Reg Varney, Doris Hare)



The boys at the bus depot are horrified when their boss starts hiring women drivers. But getting rid of them proves tougher than expected. Prime ’70s slapstick in a film spinoff of the successful sitcom series starring Reg Varney, Bob Grant and Doris Hare.

Varney, plays Stan Butler, best mate of Jack (Bob Grant), both drivers at Luxton and District Traction Company. A shortage of staff has meant a lucrative rise in overtime opportunities for the pair. Stan is especially delighted since he has to provide for his mum (Doris Hare) and free-spending sister Olive (Anna Karen). So when hated boss Blakey (Stephen Lewis) decides to break company policy and bring in women drivers to make up the numbers, Stan and Jack scheme to oust the female competition.

Love it or loathe it, there’s no denying On the Buses’ place in the history of British pop culture. The LWT series (beginning in 1969) was huge, while this film was Hammer Studios’ biggest ever money-spinner and spawned two sequels – Mutiny on the Buses (1972) and Holiday on the Buses (1973). Anthropologically, it documents the drab small-mindedness of that vast proportion of the nation left out of the ’60s party and yet to be invigorated by Glam, colour TV and ’70s curtain designs. As an example of pre-PC farce, it takes some beating and is ripe for a resurgence in today’s climate of ironic nostalgia.

production details
UK / Hammer / 88 minutes / 1971

Director: Harry Booth
Writers: Ronald Chesney, Ronald Wolfe,

Reg Varney as Stan Butler
Doris Hare as Stan’s Mum
Michael Robbins as Arthur Rudge – Stan’s Brother-in-Law
Stephen Lewis as Blakey, Stan’s Inspector
Bob Grant as Jack Harper, Stan’s Conductor
Andrea Lawrence as Betty
Pat Ashton as Sally
Pamela Cundell as Ruby
Pat Coombs as Vera
Peter Madden as Mr Brooks
David Lodge as Busman
Brenda Grogan as Bridget
Wendy Richard as Housewife
Anna Karen as Olive Rudge
Brian Oulton as Manager

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