On The Buses Revisited with new book

There has been a number of books over the years that have taken a look at popular ITV comedy On The Buses, but author Tex Fisher has produced what is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, about the classic series and films.


There has been a number of books over the years that have taken a look at popular ITV comedy On The Buses, but author Tex Fisher has produced what is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, about the classic series and films.

For more than forty years, On the Buses has been a much-loved institution of Brit­ish television comedy. Now, for the first time, series crea­tors Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney have spoken at length about their brainchild.

“I’ve focussed mainly on the behind the scenes nature of the show, so there is a lot on how the idea came around, how it was cast, produced, how the sets were made, where they filmed it, where they got the buses from, how the show was received by viewers. Along side this there’s a short episode guide with lots of recollections and memories of the people who appeared in them, details of the films, and an appendix with some biographies of the cast. Theres also a few extracts from Reg Varney’s diaries”. Tex Says, adding, “Photographs too, of course, I’ve got a few from various people that haven’t been seen before, pictures from rehearsals of the show, film stills, etc…”

The book, entitled, ‘I ‘Ate You Butler! The Making of On the Buses’ reveals how the idea for the programme came into being, pro­viding a wealth of fascinating detail on casting, the develop­ment of the production, and behind the scenes incidents. The book also has had a lot of support from the remaining cast and crew of the series which was produced by London Weekend Television between 1969 and 1973. A film franchise also proved popular during the 1970s.

“One of my main gripes about other references tomes to the series”, Tex says, “there was no interaction from the writers or cast at all. I spoke to the writers of On the Buses for hours trying to extract every morsel of data I could from them, so much so I eventually decided to credit them as co-contributors to the book, there is so much from them. Anna Karen, who played Olive also has an awful lot of input in the book, she was so helpful to me. Sadly she is one of the only surviving cast members, but the family and friends of the other cast who have passed away have assisted too. I’ve got interviews from the directors, support cast, studio crew, everybody I could track down and find. I think when you’re writing about something its vital to build it around the people who were involved in it, so this book is full of quotes. I’m very happy with the results.” Tex adds.

Making a bold entrance through the depot doors, ‘I ‘Ate you Butler – The Making of On the Buses’ also features a plethora of memories and anecdotes not just from Anna Karen but also supporting cast including Kate Williams, Ursula Mohan, Glenn Whitter and Patricia Clap­ton.

Coupled with extracts from Reg Varney’s diaries, [Reg, pictured below, right] and never-before-seen photographs, the book lifts the lid what life was really like on board the leg­endary Number 11, taking in the sights of Luxton and revealing; cast feuds, the global legacy of the show, and why Anna Karen can never look a pickled onion in the face again. Clearly the book has been written by someone who cares passionately about the series. In fact Tex can even recall his first encounter with the LWT classic.

Reg Varney, 1970, LWT Productions / ATV Australia Archive“I was seven years old. I actually remember the exact day, as it was over the Christmas holidays and all the films were on TV. I watched the trilogy all the way through for six hours. It was mainly the buses which interested me, as a child I loved buses, I had no idea what the jokes meant and I didn’t re­ally understand that part of it. But as I grew older, everything started falling into place, and it was like I was rediscovering the shows every few years as I started to understand bits of it more, so that kept it fresh for me. I got all the series on videos and eventually dvds, and I just grew into really liking the programmes.”

This isn’t Tex’s first venture into writing about classic ITV aired sitcoms, “That’s correct, I wrote ‘Man About the House – George and Mildred: The Definitive Companion’ which was surprisingly well received, so I decided to try something else.”

‘I ‘Ate you Butler – The Making of On the Buses’ looks to be just as popular as his first book about those classic Thames Television comedies, the On The Buses Appreciation Society have already given the new release high praise indeed, “Some brilliant new pictures, juicy anecdotes, and the majority of the information in it is new to even us. The best comedy reference book I have read in many years.”

The book is released by Deck Chair Publishing and is on sale from September 5th 2011.  ISBN: 978-0956563415, Hardback, RRP: £14.99.