Thursday, 27 January 2011


Ho Ho Ho
Bob Grant played Jack ‘Jacko’ Harper the Lothario Bus Conductor in On the Buses which, amazingly, ran for 74 episodes between 1969 and 1973. Never has a ‘ladies man’ been so inappropriately cast; buck toothed broken nosed with an unruly thatch of grey hair Jacko was horrific in his woman chasing awfulness.  

Jacko’s character and the show in general are almost master classes in bad comedy, juvenile writing, sexism, racism and general cloth headedness. There were also three spin off movies On the Buses, Mutiny on the Buses and Holiday on the Buses. So unfathomably popular was the show that there was even a board game doing the rounds.

The character of Olive was the frumpy wife incarnate, there was a black character called Chalky, and Blakey was modelled on Adolf Hitler, the clippies were all there for the delectation of Stan and Jacko and every bad joke and politically incorrect moment was met with shrieks of laughter by the manic studio audience.
There is something deeply depressing about this show, when I have caught a glimpse of the series on UK Gold or one of the movies during a bank holiday. The tenuous excuses for plots, the sub-carry on innuendo, the bland studio sets the tired location shots, even the theme tune is a dispiriting dirge.

On the Buses is not only a classic example of the dire ITV comedy output of the seventies but is a benchmark for a bad sitcom. Appropriately the movies were made by Hammer; the home of horror.

Theme dirge

big screen small mind
turgid TV


  1. A few year's back I was staying with my partner's son and he noticed that one of the BUSES films on on TV. He and my partner wanted to watch it because they had loved the series.
    I demurred, saying that it was one of the worst shows ever, totally unfunny, right up there with LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR in awfulness. After ten minutes they turned the TV off and admitted it was crap. What took them so long?

  2. Disagree i love the series, flawed as it is in its own time, I think the characters are pretty lovable and human.

  3. I think, maybe you 'serious' people take it too literally. I mean, it's meant to be a joke; and what I don't understand is how you can say it is bad. Everything has it's perfections and imperfections, and you seem to me like a person who hasn't got a fun life.

    The people who made it had fun, the people who watched it had fun with them. It's dated in some of its attitudes and stereotypes which you've pointed out, but wasn't everything that was made back then?

    All I'm saying is, maybe you need to stop caring so much about whether its "politically incorrect" or bad or whatever. Because all you've said here is just, like, your opinion man. Frankly it doesn't mean much in this world.

  4. Normally I don't publish 'anonymous' comments, but in this case I'm happy to.
    As you rightly point out the blog is "just, like, your (my) opinion man" That's what it says at the top of the page and if you don't want my opinion don’t read my blog. Simple isn't it?
    If I thought my opinion meant much in the world I would have gone into politics.
    As for your comments about my life and political correctness you obviously haven't read most of my 800+ posts, nor will you I guess. It's much easier to make snap judgements.
    Anyway, as much as you are being critical I thank you for reading my blog (past tense) and hope you find other blogs with opinions that match your own; which, you obviously would agree, don’t mean much either

  5. All the reasons you have given are exactly what made On the Buses the great TV show it was, it always makes me laugh, true it is no Seinfeld or MASH, but English comedy is King and OTB was a jewell in the crown, long may Stan, Jack, Blakey, Arthur, Olive and Mum reign!


having said that;