TV Cream

Films: M is for...

Mutiny on the Buses

Funny old Hammer, eh? At the same time as Dracula AD1972 was being shrugged off the production line, they were also making the rather great Vampire Circus, the films of That’s Your Funeral and Nearest and Dearest, and this, the Windsor Safari Park-plugging central pillar of the ‘Buses trilogy – and, if we’re honest, of all our lives. The darts match alone is worth the price of admission here.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    September 4, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Film snobs hate these films and yes they’re bawdy, very un PC and not the most sophisticated of films, but the On The Buses films were huge in the early seventies and still have a big following today. Mutiny is definitely the best of the three and its sight gags, coarse humour and characterisations raise a smile every time.

  2. richardpd

    September 4, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    The bit of the plot with Arthur becoming a bus driver and Olive learning to ride his motorbike are quite funny. Especially the fire drill where everyone ends up in an inspection pit full of foam.

    The traditional horror films were getting a bit out of fashion by this time this was made, & Hammer needed to find others genres of films to balance the books.

    • Glenn Aylett

      September 5, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      The British horror boom was coming to an end by 1972 and the next step for companies like Hammer were sitcom spin offs. Also the three On The Buses were huge, the first film almost being the most popular film of 1971, and just as amusing as the television series that interestingly ended around the same time as Holiday On The Buses.

  3. Sidney Balmoral James

    September 5, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    There’s something a bit odd really about people going to the cinema to see what was basically a longer version of something they could see on the telly, although as we all know, they often tried to jazz up the format by sending the cast on holiday, even if in the case of Holiday on the Buses it was just to Prestatyn, which most people watching could presumably afford to go to anyway. Have there been any examples of a TV series getting a film in recent years, with same cast etc? I can only think of The Simpsons, and Spooks (okay, not much of the cast in that one). Wonder why (perhaps to do with rise of home video and its successors)?

    • Glenn Aylett

      September 5, 2020 at 6:03 pm

      The majority of people still had black and white televisions in the early seventies, even if the television series of On The Buses was made in colour after 1969, so an attraction of these films was to see what the depot looked like in colour, what Stan’s grotty house looked like in colour, etc. Then On The Buses was such a massive hit on television, a film version was bound to have a big audience. Also, unlike many other sitcom spin offs, all three were amusing and true to the television series with the same cast.

      • Richardpd

        September 5, 2020 at 10:58 pm

        I’ve also though being able to see a film version of a sitcom at the cinema in colour was one of the reasons they were popular.

        The original TV Cream had a feature on sitcom spin-offs that mentions often the risqué factor was taken up a few notches, as well as having a bigger budget to do more location shots. This is true of the On The Buses films compared to the TV episodes, with more scenes with actual buses rather than just set in the depot or at Stan’s house.

        Alpha Papa managed to get three of the more important cast members from I’m Alan Partridge, though the concept seemed to struggle in a feature length. Same with Mrs Brown D’Movie.

        The extended Christmas special seemed to take over from the spin-off film in the 1980s, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere some of the better ones could have been films in a parallel universe.

        • THX 1139

          September 6, 2020 at 10:42 am

          You still get sitcom movies now, there was a Bad Education one (for some reason), The Inbetweeners had two, Absolutely Fabulous got a spin-off that was pretty funny, and they all feature that must for the genre, the characters going on holiday. Earlier ones include The League of Gentlemen (very strange), Kevin and Perry Go Large, and does the Dirty Sanchez movie count? Does anyone remember Dirty Sanchez?!

          • THX 1139

            September 6, 2020 at 10:45 am

            Oh, and the Harry Hill movie is seriously underrated. Keith Lemon: The Film, not so much.

  4. Droogie

    September 6, 2020 at 12:44 am

    This and the first On The Buses movie were directed by Harry Booth, who made Here Come The Double Deckers too. There’s a truly bizarre crossover between both shows in a 1972 movie also directed by Booth called Go For A Take starring Reg Varney as a crook on the run who accidentally becomes a stunt man. One scene in the movie has Varney meeting Debbie Russ as the character Tiger from The Double Deckers on it’s TV set, even though she’s noticeably older and the show had finished a two years previously. Damn weird.

    • Glenn Aylett

      September 6, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Reg Varney also took on a more serious role in The Best Pair Of Legs In The Business, where he plays a holiday camp entertainer whose best days are behind him. Not a major success at the box office, but an excellent role for Varney who was still thought of as Stan Butler by most people. I can remember seeing this when I was about 13 and Varney’s character commenting about how sick he was of people thinking he was gay.

      • THX 1139

        September 6, 2020 at 1:10 pm

        Best Pair… would be better titled It’s a Shit Business, given how bloody miserable it and Reg are throughout. One of that odd subgenre of self-hating Brit showbiz entertainments. “Sleeping in the back of me Jag, on pills for me nerves…” that sort of thing.

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