Congratulations to Bruce Forsyth on his knighthood ( secured with the help of a media campaign ). Some would say its not bad going for someone whose act consists primarily of mincing about, spouting catch-phrases. Had he been knighted at any time in the last thirty years, I would not have minded, but recently he's become a pain and a bore. On Election Night 2010, he was to be found sailing up the Thames ( along with other overpaid, out of touch celebrities such as Joan Collins ) quaffing champagne in celebration of the Tory-Victory-That-Never-Was. Why did the far-more talented Bernard Cribbins have to make do with an O.B.E.? ( he should have been made an Earl as well, then he could have been an E.A.R.L.O.B.E. )
Anyway, onto the serious stuff. 'On The Buses' ended its long run on 6/5/1973. A month later, another Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney creation appeared - 'Romany Jones'. It never enjoyed anything like that earlier show's success, of course, but proved sufficiently popular to run to four seasons, and enduring despite the tragic death of its star. The first run has just been released on D.V.D., and whilst no comedy masterpiece makes enjoyable viewing. Some of the episodes - particularly the ones with the rabbits and the goat - put me in mind of 'Two In Clover'. It is interesting to see Arthur Mullard and Queenie Watts stealing the show the way Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy later did in 'Man About The House'.
There was an extra treat for fans later that year as 'Wally' and 'Lil' both appeared in the film 'Holiday On The Buses'. Their Pontins chalet must have seemed like Buck House after that dingy caravan.
The final episode of the first run was by George Layton and Jonathan Lynn. After penning instalments of the 'Doctor' series ( in which they'd also performed ), they contributed to 'Nearest & Dearest', 'My Name Is Harry Worth', and 'On The Buses'. 'Pennies' has Betty ( Jo Rowbottom ) becoming so fed up of her husband Bert's ( James Beck ) idleness, she decides to get a job as a cocktail waitress, leaving him to do the housework. He hates it, as you might expect. Betty has hidden twenty-five pounds ( made up of her tips ) in a clock, which Bert sells to Wally to get money to gamble at the bookies. When he finds out, he tries to buy it back. Wally is amenable, but Lil is determined to keep the clock at all costs...
Funniest moment - Bert has been telling Betty's new boss ( John Barron
'C.J.' of 'The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin' ) - about tax fiddles,
only to discover that the man he is talking to in fact an Inspector of taxes at the Inland Revenue!
Sadly, the second season had to be transmitted posthumously - James Beck died of peritonitis on 6/8/74. He was a popular actor whom many thought had a great future ahead of him. 'Dad's Army' remains the series for which he is best remembered, and rightly so.
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