On the Buses-The Best of Series 3 & 4-Volume 3 (1970)

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Released 7-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1970
Running Time 96:14
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stuart Allen
Howard Ross
Studio
Distributor
VCI
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Reg Varney
Bob Grant
Stephen Lewis
Doris Hare
Anna Karen
Michael Robbins
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    On The Buses ran for 7 series between 1969 and 1973. While the four DVDs in this collection are advertised as the best of series 3 and 4, the first three discs have episodes from series 3 only. In fact, these discs comprise the entirety of series 3, first broadcast between January and March 1970. As you will remember, On The Buses features the adventures of bus driver Stan Butler (Reg Varney) and his conductor Jack (Bob Grant). The series also features Inspector Blake (Stephen Lewis) who in most episodes swears "I'll get you for this, Butler", Stan's mum (Doris Hare), his sister Olive (Anna Karen) and her husband Arthur (Michael Robbins).

    This series was very popular in its day and continues to fascinate viewers today, despite the obvious low budget production and the obviousness of the jokes. The four episodes included on this disc are no exception.

Going Steady (24:11)
    Stan is engaged to Blakey's niece, who happens to be a clippie. But when Stan invites her home to meet the family, she brings Blakey along.

The Squeeze (24:03)
    Money troubles at home force Arthur to advertise his decrepit motorbike for sale. Stan tries to sell it to the equally decrepit Blakey.

On the Make (24:24)
    A clippie is thrown out of her flat by her landlady, and Stan, seeing his opportunity, invites her to lodge in his house. But he hasn't reckoned with her little doggie.

Brew It Yourself (24:11)
    Stan brews some home beer. When he arrives at work after testing the brew, Blakey insists on giving him a breathalyser test.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    As usual, the video is fairly soft, though it is slightly better than VHS. Colour is adequate if unremarkable and shadow detail is not an issue.

    There are numerous film artefacts, with dirt and small flecks present, especially during the opening credits. These are also present during the outdoor scenes which were shot on 16mm film. There are also several instances of video tracking errors, some of which involve a brief distortion of the image, but most of which take the form of horizontal lines which appear fleetingly on the screen. The incidence of these errors seems to be less frequent on this disc than on the two previous discs in this series.

    No subtitles are provided on this single-layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    As per the first two volumes in this series, the audio is satisfactory without being exceptional.

    The single audio track is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. No surround encoding could be detected.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The audience sounds seem to be at a higher level than they should be. I am not sure whether the episodes were filmed before a live audience or simply contain a laugh track, but I suspect the latter is the case.

    The music score is not credited. It is only used in the opening and closing credits, and during transitions from scene to scene.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    No extras are provided. At the time of writing, Reg Varney, Anna Karen and Stephen Lewis are all still living, though Varney, now in his late eighties, retired long ago for health reasons. It is a pity that the producers of this series of discs did not attempt to include some additional material, such as interviews with the remaining stars, or even the 5 minute spots made for ITV Christmas specials, as an opportunity like this may not occur again. I would have to conclude that the bus has been missed.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This material has not been released on DVD in Region 1. The Region 4 is a clone of the Region 2, so I will call this a draw.

Summary

    Collectors of this series should not hesitate, as better transfers of this material are highly unlikely.

    The video quality is adequate.

    The audio quality is satisfactory.

    No extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, February 27, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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