QPR Screen References: No.6 – ‘On The Buses’ – Episode: ‘Self Defence’

There were seven series of ‘On The Buses’ containing 74 episodes which ran from 1969 until 1973 and also three films. The main characters were, ‘Stan’, who was played by East End born Reg Varney. He was the bus driver and still lived at home with his Mum, Sister and Brother-in-law.

Doris Hare wasn’t the original ‘Mum’ but had joined the Cast for the second series and appeared in this particular episode. She is not the one who is in the picture of the Cast shown below. She died at an actor’s rest home in Northwood in 2000, aged 95.

Bob Grant played ‘Jack’ and was Stan’s regular bus conductor. He was born in Hammersmith and tragically took his own life in 2003, aged 71.

‘Arthur’ was Stan’s Brother-in-law and was played by Michael Robbins who had also appeared in early episodes of ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Doctor Who’ and also with Harry H. Corbett in the film, ‘The Bargee’. He died in 1992, aged 62.

Anna Karen was born in South Africa and played Stan’s Sister, ‘Olive’. She was married to ‘Arthur’ and in real life to Terry Duggan who appeared in one of the film versions as ‘Nobby’. She had an interesting start to her film career when she appeared in ‘Nudist Memories’ in 1959 !

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Last but by no means least, is Stephen Lewis who plays the notorious ‘Inspector Blakey’. He was born in London and has appeared recently in the long running television series, ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’.

This particular episode was from the second series and was first broadcast on 14th June, 1969. Stan and Jack are returning from their final Saturday night run and arrive late at the Bus Station to be met by Blakey. They complain to him about the rowdy behaviour of pub drunks and football yobs. Stan has ripped trousers and Jack has a black eye after they confronted an unruly group on their bus. However, Blakey is more concerned that they are late back and also with the graffiti on the side of the bus. “Queens Park Rangers are a lot of..” but he doesn’t read out the last word which is sprayed round the back and out of camera shot.

Stan returns home to find his family moaning that he didn’t bring their fish and chips. The next day, Blakey announces in the Canteen, to howls of laughter, that he would be the one giving self defence lessons to the Staff. There is no interest whatsoever until two young clippies put their name down. The Inspector arrives in his karate outfit and lays down a mat on the Canteen floor for the demonstration. He displays a chart depicting all the sensitive parts of the body which supplies an abundance of comedy material for the rest of the episode.

The plots and characters were never too deep or complicated but the series and films provided plenty of good, honest laughs. I was interested to learn that Bob Grant was born in Hammersmith. Various episodes are currently being shown daily on the ‘Men and Motors’ Channel. For further information about the series, you can visit: www.onthebusesfanclub.co.uk

Steve Russell