Sunday, 8 May 2011

The London Number 13 Bus

Stan Butler (Reg Varney) and Jack Harper (Bob Grant). Picture from Elstree Calling

Before I met my husband I believed Englishmen to be boring. The image of England I had came from the TV series broadcast in Finland in the 1970's, mainly from 'On the Buses'.

The series was so popular in Finland that one of the main characters, the forever flirty Jack, played by Bob Grant, made an ad for Finnish TV for liquorice sweets called Lontoo rae.

For those of you who are too young (huh, huh), the 1970's comedy series, 'On the Buses' was based around a bus driver and his conductor and filmed on the number 13 double decker. It was sold to several foreign countries and, for all I know, old episodes of it are still run in Finland.

Picture from Elstree Calling

An incident a few weeks ago made me think how strange life is: not only am I now married to an Englishman, but I also take the number 13 bus to town almost every day.

One day the bus stopped in traffic, facing another in the middle of Oxford Street. A group of tourists in the other bus started excitedly aiming their iPhones at me. I looked around - I was alone on the top floor. Fame at last? For what, though? It took me a while to understand the tourists' excitement: it wasn't the sight of me sitting at the front - what they were pointing at was the number of my bus - 13. 

Stan and his friends' fame from On The Busses lives on and I reserve my opinion on how boring Englishmen are...


Talli Roland said...

Funny how things like that come back to resonate with us, isn't it?

Michelle Trusttum said...

Helena - I remember it well! British comedy nights on Television New Zealand in the 70s: On the Buses, Are You Being Served, Fawlty Towers, The Two Ronnies, and that awful little Benny Hill.

Rose said...

you know I have never watch a whole episode of on the buses even though, like Carry on films, it feels like one is always on somewhere on the tv. perhaps I will one day, for me the number 12 was the first bus I rode regularly and I always smile when I see one, even though I don't live on that route anymore, they were routemasters then and I am still upset about the lack of routemasters for they were wonderful and the conducters were always so sweet