Series / On the Buses

"No wonder you want me to take sleeping tablets, you're a sex maniac!"

Seventies Britcom centred on workers of the Luxton & District Traction Company. The main characters are Stan Butler, a bus driver, and his best mate and conductor, Jack Harper. Their arch-nemesis is pen-pushing bureaucrat bus inspector Cyril "Blakey" Blake. Recurring characters include Stan's mum, sister Olive and brother-in-law Arthur. Olive and Arthur are unhappily married, which is often joked about. Seventy-four episodes were made from 1969 to 1973. Three spinoff films were also made.

On the Buses was one of the earliest British sitcoms to centre on working-class people's lives. Much of the humour comes from Stan and Jack's attempts at chatting up women, while trying to get out of doing any work. Critics derided the show as being vulgar, but it was hugely popular with audiences. Some episodes were watched by 16 million viewers, a figure unknown today, due to the splintering of the British televsion market.

Came fifty-third in Britain's Best Sitcom.

This show provides examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Jack and Stan are forever skirt-chasing, much to Blakey's disgust.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Olive loses her glasses on a regular basis, and of course can see nothing without them.
  • Catch-Phrase: Blakey's "I 'ate you, Butler!"
  • The Chew Toy: Poor Olive, destined to be dumped on and have fat jokes told about her, despite being played by an ex-model, who also appeared in a nudie cutie and several Carry On films. (One fan site uses the phrase "the delectable Olive" to describe her.)
  • Double Entendre: A mainstay of the humour.
  • Everybody Smokes: Including on buses, and at the dinner table.
  • Foreign People Are Sexy: The infamous episode where the boys pull a couple of Swedish birds. Fatima the snake dancer also deserves a mention.
  • Godwin's Law: Jack and Stan regularly cracking gags comparing Blakey to Hitler is a big case of Values Dissonance for modern viewers, particularly since all he wants them to do is be on time and do some work.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: "There's always gay life on the buses/make sure you leave your bird at home".
  • Housewife: Stan's mum, a totally archetypal British 1950s housewife with a scarf perpetually over her hair
  • Karma Houdini: For the most part, Stan and Jack get away with almost everything they do. No matter how wrong.
  • Loveable Rogue: Jack and Stan
  • The Movie: Actually three - On the Buses (1971), Mutiny on the Buses (1972), and Holiday on the Buses (1973). The first movie is notable for being the most successful film that Hammer Film Productions ever made. Yes, that Hammer.
  • Naughty by Night: Well, Olive would like to be, but Arthur has other ideas...
  • No Accounting for Taste: Olive and Arthur are a brilliantly ghastly combination.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: It would be difficult to find a character who dosen't fit this trope. It is most common in Stan's mum.
  • Popcultural Osmosis: "Blakey from On The Buses" is sometimes referred to in conversation (as a comparison to people) by other people who've never seen the series.
  • Protagonist Centred Morality: Stan and Jack are depicted as the protagonists and the show plays on the idea that they are in the right. Despite the fact that they preform several illegal, or unquestionably morally wrong actions. Casual dialogue in the seventh series opener insinuates that they're willing to go so far as to defraud a divorce hearing.
  • Put on a Bus: Rather amusingly for Tropers, Stan leaves the series for Oop North, on the grounds that bus drivers make more money there, thus he literally was put on a bus.
  • Retool: Nessecitated by Micheal Robbins and later Reg Varney leaving the show. The Premise changed to allow Olive a job at the depo and Blake to move in with her and Mrs Butler.
  • Running Gag: The show attempts to depict Arthur's operation as this.
  • Ship Tease: One episode depicts a drunk Stan attempting to snog both Blakey and Jack, Within five minutes of each other.
  • Shotgun Wedding: And Now You Must Marry Me: For all intents and purpouses, the reason why Arthur married olive in the firstplace after a Bedmate Reveal:
  • Sitcom Character Archetypes: Jack and Stan are Wisecrackers, Blakey is The Bully, Arthur is The Stick, and Olive is The Dork.
  • Spin-Off: Don't Drink the Water ran for thirteen episodes across two series in 1974 and 1975 and saw Blakey retire to Spain with his sister only to find himself beset by just as many problems as he was in Britain.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Olive and Mrs Butler. Subverted in the final series when Olive is forced to get a job at the depo to maintain the double income household after Arthur Leaves.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: NBC adapted it in the 1973-74 season as Lotsa Luck, with Dom De Luise as the lead.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Leading to Disaster Dominoes at the beginning of the third movie.