Reg Varney/Stan
Bob Grant/Jack
Stephen Lewis/Blakey
Stephen Lewis chats about ON THE BUSES
Doris Hare/Mum
Anna Karen / Olive born 19th September 1936; died 2nd February 2022
Michael Robbins/Arthur
Quick Episdoes Guide
ON THE BUSES behind the scenes
Stephen Lewis visits Weymouth
Ronald Chesney
Ronnie Wolfe .
Ronnie Wolfe's Book Launch
Stuart Allen Producer/Director
Cicely Courtneidge
Doris Hare photo career page
Kate Williams/Nurse in Holiday
Andria Lawrence (Turnaround Betty)
Roger Ferris (Hon Member)
Hal Dyer/Shirley Robbins in memory
Terry Duggan
Albert Moses
J P Trevor Honorary Member
Ron Savage Hon Member
OTB random Photo album.
The Clippies
The Series
Guest Stars
Wendy Richard
Wilfred Brambell/Bert in HOLIDAY
Michael Sheard depot manager
Reg Varney Exhibition
On holiday GALLLERY
In the Depot GALLERY
Movie Posters
Movie locations
Movie location photo gallery
The Water Fall shop and tea room DYSERTH
Memories from Doris's Grandson
The Buses and Bus Depot
Geoff Unwin Honorary member
Magazine Covers
NEW Windmill Theatre NEW
Look In TV Comic
Overseas DVD video covers
Boreham Wood and Elstree Times
Famous Bus Man Tommy
NEW Bus Photos
Luxton Bus Company Complaints Department
2009 morning events page 2
Celebration Event on 22nd May 2011

 Celebrating the classic sitcom and movies of 
Welcome on-board all our fellow passengers


Passengers to date over 1 million, it is great to have you all on-board DING DING!

HONORARY MEMBERS of the official

ON THE BUSES fan -club

Co creators and Writers of ON THE BUSES

Kathryn & Deborah Wolfe (Daughters of the late Ronnie & Rose Wolfe)

 Ronald Chesney’s Son and Daughter 
Jeanne Varney (Reg's Daughter) 

Sarah Cliffe (Michael Robbins Daughter) 

 Andria Lawrence Actress (Turn around Betty)  
Annette Long - (Betty in HOLIDAY ON THE BUSES)
Ann Allen/Lucy (Wife and Daughter of Stuart Allen / Director/Producer)

 Linda Regan (Actress and crime writer)- 
Geoff Unwin (music composer) Roger Ferris (musician and song writer)
Dean Sullivan owner of Sullivan Buses - Paul Welsh MBE

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* ON THE BUSES at the movies link. CLICK HERE *

The new ON THE BUSES AT THE MOVIES Documentary is now available to download for only £2.50. Click the photo link below to view a trailer and option to download via link on the top right of the cast photo on that page.

ON THE BUSES at the movies link


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To find out more about each star just click on their cast photo.





19th September 1936 - 22nd February 2022




To find out more about the stars just click on their cast photos.

Way back in 1969 a TV comedy series began with an episode called THE EARLY SHIFT. That show was called
 On The Buses.
   It was about the life of a driver and his conductor working on the No.11 bus that ran to the CEMETERY GATES. They were employed by Luxton and District Bus Depot and answerable to an Inspector who was the bain of their lives.
  The series was created and written by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney The main cast were the happy go lucky bus driver Stan (Reg Varney). Stan's best pal, the lecherous conductor Jack (Bob Grant) and Inspector Blake (Stephen Lewis).
Driver Stan lived at home with sister the delectable Olive (Anna Karen) and her lay-about husband Arthur (Michael Robbins) plus of course dear old Mum. (Cicely Courtniedge) series 1, (Doris Hare) from series 2 onwards.
   The series followed the exploits of Stan and Jacks lives. Their day to day living, how they dealt with authority and of course the all important job of chasing the opposite sex known as 'Birds'.
   The cast won the ITV personality of the year in 1970. By 1971 the show was a firm favorite across the nation and was watched globally by audiences of 22 million.

The series was to reflect the lives of the working classes of the time and this was part of the formula for its success. The show ended up being exported to 38 countries around the world and is still being given re-runs on TV to this day.
  There were also 3 spin of feature films from the series: - 'On The Buses', 'Mutiny On The Buses' and 'Holiday On The Buses.'

So why not hop back onboard for a trip down memory lane here at the ON THE BUSES fan-club website.


LWT comedy series On The Buses was a hit with viewers but not with critics who didn’t see the charm of the series viewers did. Such was the success of the comedy that it spawned three spin-off movies and Flashback takes a look at both the television series and the three movies of On the Buses.

On the Buses is probably one of the better remembered comedies of the 1970s thanks to its successful run on ITV and three cinema movies spun-off from the television series. The series was created by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney who had also created The Rag Trade for the BBC and had first taken On the Buses to BBC bosses who declined to produce the series. With rejection from the BBC the duo turned to commercial rival ITV and the London Weekend Television company, LWT for short, who held the weekend franchise in London. The series ran from 1969 to 1973 and was a huge hit with viewers but critics did not take to the series and that’s a legacy that remains to this day. Like many comedies of its era many critics look back on the series through the view point of down their nose, with a snobbish attitude that does not find the comedy contain within the series amusing at all. But despite this the series still enjoys popularity thanks to the characters within it, which are still referred to pop culture references, and the DVD releases of the series. Repeats of the show have also ensured its continuing longevity in the minds of audiences.

The series revolved around the antics of bus driver Stan Butler [Reg Varney] and his conductor Jack [Bob Grant] as they try to date their way through the female clippies of the bus company, avoid as much work as possible and wind up Inspector Blakey [Stephen Lewis] as much as possible. While Jack was presented as a womaniser and Stan as a down-to-earth bloke, Blakey was the stereotypical jobworthy inspector always looking out for a chance to get one over on Stan and Jack. Many of the episodes revolved around Blakey trying to catch Stan and Jack out. Other characters within the series included Stan’s mother [Cicely Courtneidge and then Doris Hare], his sister Olive [Anna Karen] and Oliver’s husband Arthur [Michael Robbins]. Arthur was often out of work due to a supposed back injury and much was made of his attempts at avoiding spending time with his long suffering wife, Olive. Olive was often the butt of many jokes. To this day referring to a woman as Olive is an unflattering remark and something of an insult to most women. As the series progressed some changes were made to the cast with several cast members leaving.

In 1971 the first movie based on the series was filmed and released at cinemas, purely entitled On The Buses. The film revolved around the introduction of female bus drivers to the company and Jack and Stan’s attempts at getting rid of the latest threat to their job, especially as the women proved to be better drivers and better at their jobs. The film was a hugely commercial success and was the top box-office film at the time, beating the James Bond film of the time Diamonds Are Forever. Given the huge success of the film and the continual success of the television series another film was made and released in 1972. Mutiny on the Buses saw Stan get a girlfriend who was determined that he should get a job on a brand new line the bus company were operating, to the nearby zoo. All manner of things go wrong and the only customers on the bus end up being escaped zoo animals. In 1973 a third film was made, the final film based on the series. Holiday on the Buses saw the action switch to a holiday camp and the various antics and disasters that happened here as Stan, Jack and Blackley all take up jobs on the camp site. All three films were produced by Hammer Film Productions who switched to making film spin-offs from popular television shows following the decline of Hammer Horrors. On the Buses was one of many popular comedy series’ of the 1970s that was transformed into a big screen version with George and Mildred, Please Sir and Man About The House being just one of many comedies made into films.

In all there were seventy four episodes of On the Buses made between 1969 and 1973, all of which were half an hour in length. In addition to these two Christmas Specials were also made. The series was mostly recorded at LWT’s studios in Wembley but in 1972 filming relocated to the South Bank studios when LWT opened up their new studios there. The fourth season of the show was hit by the ITV colour strike which ran from late 1970 to early 1971, consequently seven episodes of the season were made in black and white. Many other ITV shows were similarly affected by the strike with many showings having to switch back to recording in black and white. After the series ending in 1973 a short-lived spin-off series following, Don’t Drink the Water, ran from 1974 to 1975 and saw Stephen Lewis reprise his role of Blakely. The series saw Blakely retire to Spain with his sister, Dorothy [Pat Coombs]. The series didn’t capture the audience in the same way as the parent show and didn’t command the same ratings On the Buses did during its heyday. The series is now criticised for its perceived sexism and the womanising ways of Jack, which some see as endorsing his life style and treating woman as sexual objects. However, On the Buses was merely a product of its time, like all comedies of that era, and merely reflected the society of its time. Society in the 1970s was very different to our society and to judge the series based on the values we have today seems unfair given the advances made in regards to equality in the last thirty years which have led to our society today being more respectful of equality of women.
In 1988 a stage version of the series toured in Australia which lead to the idea being put forward of a new series of On the Buses being made. Back on the Buses was suggested in 1990 and most of the original cast were believed to be up for reprising their roles. However, despite publicity for the proposed revival LWT opted not to push ahead with the idea.
Originally pubished in 2008 In memory of Reg Varney for ATV Written by Doug Lambert - UK Editor   

How the actors came together in

Reg started his career as a piano player (self taught) before getting into knock about comedy routines. During World War II, he joined the Royal Engineers, but continued performing as an army entertainer, entertaining the troops including touring the Far East.After the war he returned to his showbiz career in variety and TV roles.Reg Varney was already known to Ronnie Wolfe and Ronnie Chesney due to his part as foreman Reg Turner in 'The Rag Trade', which began in 1961.Reg was touring Australia with his act at the time when they contacting him asking if he would be interested in playing the role of Stan Butler. Reg sent a cable back to the UK saying “I am learning to drive a bus.”

 Bob Grant was born in Hammersmith, west London, in 1932, trained at Rada, did his National Service with the Royal Artillery, then made his stage debut in 1952. Other repertory theatre work followed before his first London appearance, with the Joan Littlewood's Theatre Company. Bob was writing film and theatre plays and had also co-written with Stephen Lewis. Playing various roles on stage including farces, before getting the part of Jack the conductor, with his cheeky grin and quick wit he found the part was perfect for him.With Stephen Lewis, Bob Grant also wrote 11 episodes of ON THE BUSES

Stephen Lewis was working on a building site when Joan Littlewood came down from the theatre workshop and chatted to Stephen and persuaded him to take up acting for a play they were putting on about the building industry. He soon became one of the theatre company’s best actors earning respect in the industry. He was offered the part of Inspector Blake and the rest they say his history. Stephen Lewis got the idea of how to play the character after spending time in a real bus depot where he found Blakey’s character. In Stephen Lewis’s own words “The Inspector was in the army for 5 years and although uniforms and rules on the buses are similar to army life, he could not order everyone around like in the army. The bus crews can answer back, walk out or call on the union, much to Blakey’s frustration
Born into an acting family, her Father, Mother 3 Brothers and 2 Sisters were all on the stage. At the age of three she made her professional debut. Her first West End hit came at the Adelphi Theatre in 1932, when she was 27. Doris had a long and outstanding career but was always modest about this. The roles she played were many and varied and was a forces sweetheart of The Merchant Navy often heard on radio during the war in "Shipmates Ashore" eventually receiving an MBE for her work as a wartime entertainer. In 1945 she returned to the West End and continued working in theatre and film. Doris was first choice to play Mum in ON THE BUSES was abroad at the time with her husband who was an eminent Doctor. It was not until series 2 that Doris could accept the part as Mabel Butler. 

 Early in her career, Anna Karen worked as an exotic dancer in London before getting into acting. When asked to audition for the role of Olive she was just putting make-up on in the back of the car when it was suggested she should go for the part without it. So with no make-up a skirt down to her knees, the now famous glasses and looking dowdy Anna walked into the audition and got the part as Olive.The series also transferred to the stage/ which in 1987 took Anna to abroad to Victoria and Vancouver and the next year to Toronto.
Anna is great friends with Barbara Windsor.

Michael Robbins began his professional life as a bank clerk. Through taking part in amateur dramatics he soon turned professional actor, but also worked as an usher in London during periods out of work.His acting talent shone through and he gained enormous experience with various repertory companies that lead him eventually to get TV work.Michael was offered  the part of Arthur in ON THE BUSES after he was spotted by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney  playing
an irate bus passenger in the Harry Worth Show.


In 1987  Doris Hare, Anna Karen and Michael Robbins went over to Canada to star in the stage play/farce  'ON  THE BUSES A NEW LIFE. Reprising the roles of Mum, Olive and Arthur it all takes place in a hotel  where Olive finally gets to meet her Dad for the first time
it was written by Ronnie Wolfe and Ronnie Chesney and was big hit with the Canadian theatre goers.
It is a very funny play and believed there are only a few recordings of the play in existence, of which I am lucky enough to have one of these thanks to Ronnie Wolfe.


Fellow passengers hopping on-board, not just from here in the UK but around the world, thanks for dropping by DING DING!


Nostalgia never goes out of fashion
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