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    On the Buses - Series 2

    Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 145 mins . G . PAL


    The second series of On the Buses was filmed and first transmitted in 1970, a year after the first series. You will find a synopsis of the show and a review of that first series on DVD here. There were a number of subtle changes to Series Two, such as the animated opening credits and sped up theme music, but most notably a new actress, Doris Hare, playing Mum. The show’s central character, Stan Butler (Reg Varney), and the rest of the cast all reprise their roles.

    The characters had well and truly established themselves by the second series. The actors seem more sure about their characters, there is a more obvious rapport between the main cast and their timing and delivery of lines is a little quicker and more natural. The characters are essentially the same, though Inspector Blake (Stephen Lewis) seems more snivelly and whiny.

    The same humour is here, being sight gags and word play, some sexist - though largely inoffensive comments - and subtle innuendo.

    Stan’s family seem to have slightly more on-screen time, and some funnier lines, especially his sister Olive (Anna Karen) and her husband, Arthur (Michael Robbins), who is his usual, sarcastic and cynical self.

    If you enjoyed the first series (seven episodes), then the second (six episodes) should not fail to please. It’s a bit of a slog watching them all in one sitting, as the jokes start to get predictable, but if watched over a period of time there are enough laughs to make it worthwhile.


    There’s not a lot to distinguish this second series from the first, including being spread over two discs. Again it is black and white and full frame and therefore not 16:9 enhanced. The footage filmed in the studio is quite sharp and of decent visual quality. There are a few marks, white horizontal lines and numerous other glitches, though in general it is quite good for its age. There are some instances of analog tape glitch and other associated gremlins, but at least being on DVD means a permanent record of the show, unlike a lot of other shows from the same era.

    There are almost no instances of shimmer, very little grain, and generally good contrast with solid blacks and whites, with just a few instances of glare.

    The footage filmed outdoors is not as good, with considerable grain, many more marks, scratches and lines, and is generally darker with some dodgy shadow detail. Fortunately, outdoor footage is not a large part of the show.


    Again there is just a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track that is loud, clear and well synchronised. The limited music shows that there is a good dynamic range, but as most of the show is limited to dialogue and sight gags, it hardly seems to matter that this is a very basic, though perfectly functional, audio track.


    As with On the Buses – Series One, there are none, not even an animated menu.


    I guess completists will feel the need to purchase On the Buses - Series Two if they have On the Buses – Series One, and while there are definitely laughs to be had, it’s unlikely that many will desire to watch the episodes more than once. If British comedies generally appeal to you, then you should find this one to your liking. It’s good, but unlikely to be heralded as anyone’s all-time favourite.

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      And I quote...
    "A somewhat funnier and slicker second series. Like Series One it is a bit dated, but there are still laughs to be had…"
    - Terry Kemp
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