Firstly, apologies. I’ve been busy with Big Brother and The X Factor so I have posted to my blog for a few days. Regular readers will know that I’m rather partial to TV programmes of yesteryear. In addition to checking out the likes of The Professionals, The Sweeney, Minder, Dempsey & Makepeace and more on ITV3 and ITV4, I’ve been watching 70s sitcom On The Buses. I’ve even found myself laughing a couple of times. Yes, it’s cheap, vulgar and misogynistic but its saucy seaside postcard humour is almost refreshing in these politically correct noughties days. Besides, it’s sooooo British, it should be sponsored by an old school greasy spoon. Nothing remotely American or American-influenced here.
First things first, it hasn’t dated well. It was aging even as it was broadcast during its original 1969-1973 run. But it’s hard to dislike bus driver Stan Butler (played by the 50ish Reg Varney – yes that’s right – 50ish!). Stan is characterised by his horniness: desperate for the mini-skirted, busty, nubile women working in the depot (who always fancy him for some bizarre reason), it’s not unusual to find him clocking off and keeping the passengers waiting while he has a bit of ‘ow’s yer father’ with the chosen wench. The series made Reg Varney an unlikely sex symbol – only in this country could a man like Reg become an object of desire.
Makes yer proud to be British, doesn’t it? Sod the PC/Health & Safety crowd; hoist yer Union Jack and cue the national anthem for dirty old Stan Butler!
Stan’s best mate is his conductor, a right jack-the-lad (called Jack, funnily enough) with a hugely infectious laugh who says "Cor blimey" more times than Jodie Marsh has been Tangoed. Our horny bus driver lives with his bingo-obsessed mum who loves him to death. In the same house resides plain sister Olive and her layabout, sponging husband Ar’fur. One character who must be mentioned is long-suffering bus Inspector ‘Blakey’ Blake; Stan and Jack delighted in making his life a misery, prompting weekly lip-quivering exclamations of "I’ll get you Butler!" and "I ‘ate you, Butler!"
I think the very absurdity of On The Buses is what tickles me the most. The humour is extremely obvious – don’t expect Oscar-winning scripts if you tune in. What’s more, the very idea of two middle-aged skirt-chasers (one with teeth Austin Powers would envy) bagging the kind of women most men their age can’t even dream of is hilarious in itself. On The Buses will never make a list of the best sitcoms we’ve ever made. However, thanks to its timeless comedy creations, it’s far from being the most minging. I’ve listed the likes of ‘Orrible and Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps in my gallery of the UK’s Worst Sitcoms. Feel free to nominate your choices.
Today I am mostly lovin’ – The Olympics. It truly is the greatest show on Earth. I just love the idealism of it all. Am I the only person whose favourite bit is the Parade Of Nations?
Today I am mostly hatin’ – The Sky v Virgin Media debacle. We customers have been without Sky News and Sky One for long enough.
MSN Editor Coops
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