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On the Buses

Hooray! No trousers! 'Of course I don't hate you. They just make me say that. I actually think you're very talented'

SINGLE-HANDEDLY KEPT ITV in business in the early 70s, so this endlessly-mocked transportation-tweaking torpitude has got to count for something. All the critics loathed it, naturally, but fifty thousand billion viewers watched its 74,000 episodes, not to mention the (count ’em!) three film spin-offs. Roll call: REG VARNEY was the cheeky bus driver with an eye for the ladies; BOB “EDDIE” GRANT was the cheeky clippie with an eye etc; MICHAEL ROBBINS and ANNA KAREN were the comedically dire couple with a motorbike and sidecar; STEPHEN “DON’T DRINK” LEWIS was Blakey, the miserable inspector with an annoying donkey-style voice. Franchise travelled the world. Unlike the buses.



  1. ansonort

    October 2, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    More than one article in The Sun depicting Anna Karen as a glamour-puss with much lauding of the miracle of make-up and costume that made her look like an ugly old trout.

  2. Adrian

    October 2, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Scarily, Stephen Lewis was only 35 when he played Blakey..

  3. Rob Johnson

    September 9, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Loved it as a kid, but watching re-runs recently surprised me how truly awful it was. Reg Varney was well into his 50’s when he was still playing an overly randy young bloke.

  4. Paul Bovey

    November 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

    On watching the reruns on ITV3, it’s amusing to note how Stephen Lewis calls Bob Grant’s character Arthur in nearly every episode, with no one seeming to notice his character was called Jack.

  5. Arthur Nibble

    November 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    So does that make Trigger out of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ the new Blakey?

  6. Paul Bovey

    November 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Funnily enough, there was an ‘On the Buses’ reference in an early episode of ‘OFAH’: Del orders a drink in a gay bar and asks for a “Caribbean Stallion”, as ordered in ‘Live and Let Die’ by Roger Moore; then Rodney orders half a lager, to which the waiter replies sarcastically: “Reg Varney drank one of them in ‘Holiday on the Buses’.”

  7. WHS

    February 16, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Blakey calls him “‘Arper” not “Arthur”! The character was called Jack Harper…

  8. Glenn Aylett

    May 11, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Geek fact, the green buses they used were Bristol Lodekkas, where passengers got on at the front rather than the back, but the driver still sat in a closed cab and a conductor took fares. Cumberland Motor Services used these until the early eighties when they were replaced by characterless driver operated buses.

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