Holiday on the Buses
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|Holiday on the Buses|
|Directed by||Bryan Izzard|
|Produced by||Ronald Chesney
|Written by||Ronald Chesney
|Music by||Denis King|
|Edited by||James Needs|
Holiday on the Buses is a 1973 British comedy film directed by Bryan Izzard and starring Reg Varney and Doris Hare. The film is the third and final spin-off film from the ITV sitcom On the Buses and succeeded the films On the Buses (1971) and Mutiny on the Buses (1972). The film was produced by Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe for Hammer Films.
The negligent bus driving of Stan Butler (Reg Varney), a driver for the Town & District bus company, finally causes a major accident in the company that injures Blakey (Stephen Lewis), while wrecking the manager's car and two of the company's buses. As a result of this, both he and Blakey are sacked, along with Stan's close friend Jack (Bob Grant). Forced to look for new jobs, Stan and Jack manage to secure work at a Pontins holiday camp in Prestatyn, North Wales, as a bus crew for its tour bus. But their joy is short-lived when they discover that Blakey, whose foot is still recovering, also has a job at the camp as its new security inspector. Despite this, Stan decides to invite his family to stay there for a holiday on his staff discount, though his tight-fisted brother-in-law, Arthur, refuses to pay for the train fare, instead relying on his motorcycle and sidecar to transport the Butler family, consisting of himself, Stan's Mum, his wife and Stan's sister Olive, and his son Little Arthur. However, a mishap while travelling to the camp leads to them losing most of their luggage in the river, while one case they recover is so filled with mud that the clothes inside are ruined.
Meanwhile, as the Butler family try to begin enjoying their holiday, Blakey decides to keep a watchful eye on Stan and Jack as they get up to their usual tricks and misadventures, all while spending time with te camp's nurse, whom he loves, and using his spare time to teach an old-time dancing class to some of the camp's guests. At the same time, Mum encounters an Irish widower by the name of Bert (Wilfrid Brambell), whom she forms a close friendship with upon learning he is holidaying at the camp. While working the tour bus, Stan makes attempts to snare the affections of a female guest by the name of Mavis, but is repeatedly thwarted by her overbearing mother. When he does manage to secure some time with her, he becomes obliged by the family to babysit Little Arthur, but is so focused with Mavis, he inadvertently allows his nephew to get hold of a water pistol filled with ink that he soon sprays around one of the bedrooms of the Butler's chalet. Horrified, the Butlers become forced to redecorate the chalet before Blakey or the management find out. Seeking to make up for the disaster, Stan brings the family on a boat cruise, using it as a final attempt to seduce Mavis, but this fails when he struggles with the stormy seas, eventually succumbing to seasickness while Jack takes advantage to steal his love. Although the repainting goes well upon the Butler's return, Olive ruins it during the night by leaving handprints over the painted walls while trying to find the room's light switch, forcing Arthur to redo the work the next day. Once finished, he decides to use petrol from his motorcycle to clean the brushes, yet in doing so, neglects to tell anyone that Olive poured it down the toilet, resulting in it being blown up when Stan carelessly discards a cigarette into it. Needing to repair the damage, Stan and Jack steal a new toilet from the camp's stores, while having Olive and Arthur join Blakey's old-time dancing class in order to divert the Inspector's attention, though a mishap occurs when Olive loses her way and winds up going into the wrong chalet and another man's bed by mistake.
Shortly after repairing the damage, Stan attempts to win the affections of Maria, an Italian woman who works at the staff canteen and cleans the manager's chalet, unaware that her brother Luigi, a chef in the staff canteen, is overprotective of her, but on the night that he tries to seduce her in the manager's chalet, he is forced to hide when the manager and his wife return earlier than he expected. The next morning, Blakey jumps to conclusions about Stan's fling and informs Luigi of what he misheard, promptly leading Stan to be beaten up. However, the Inspector's joy is short-lived when Luigi angrily accuses him of lying after the manager, unaware of the truth, reveals that no such amorous event occurred in his chalet. Later that day, Jack visits the nurse for a quick fling, having been doing so behind Blakey's back, but is forced to leave when he comes to see her, accidentally leaving behind his jacket in her office. When the Inspector finds them, he wrongly believes Stan is seeing her and, in a fit of rage, chases him. This proves to be the final straw for the manager who sacks Blakey for having romantic liaisons with the nurse against staff policies.
For the Butler family, their holiday ends with reasonable success despite the mishaps, though as they return home, they suffer one more mishap when they lose their luggage once again in the same river. Meanwhile, Stan and Jack, delighted that Blakey is now gone, set their sights on two new female guests, and borrow the bus for an evening trip to the beach. However, the pair panic when the bus sinks into wet sand and cannot be moved, leading them to decide to wait until morning to try moving it again, a decision that leads to the bus being submerged by the incoming tide, and the pair being promptly sacked for their actions. Left on the dole again, Stan and Jack return to the labour exchange for new jobs, only to find that Blakey, to their horror, is now a clerk at the exchange. Although he initially gloats over Stan's predicament, he eventually provides him a job appropriate for someone who is "always smashing things up". The story ends with Stan as the driver of a wrecking ball for a demolition company, bringing down a building.
- Reg Varney - Stan Butler
- Doris Hare - Mum
- Michael Robbins - Arthur Rudge
- Anna Karen - Olive Rudge
- Stephen Lewis - Inspector Cyril 'Blakey' Blake
- Bob Grant - Jack Harper
- Wilfrid Brambell - Bert Thomsson
- Kate Williams - Nurse
- Arthur Mullard - Wally Briggs
- Queenie Watts - Lily Briggs
- Henry McGee - Holiday Camp Manager
- Adam Rhodes - Little Arthur
- Michael Sheard - Depot manager
- Hal Dyer - Mrs. Coombs
- Franco De Rosa - Luigi
- Gigi Gatti - Maria
- Maureen Sweeney - Mavis
- Eunice Black - Mavis' Mum
- Sandra Bryant - Sandra
- Carolae Donoghue - Doreen
- Tara Lynn - Joyce
- Alex Munro - Patient
It was filmed on location at The Pontin's Holiday Camp, Prestatyn, North Wales. Interiors were completed at EMI-MGM Elstree Studios, Borehamwood. The film was also Michael Robbins and Reg Varney's final appearances in the On The Buses franchise; having already quit the TV series for its final season which aired the same year. Scenes were also filmed at Dyserth, at the Waterfall Shop.
Hugh Leonard, reviewing Holiday on the Buses for a list of films airing over the Christmas period, gave the film zero stars out of four. Leonard added "This one should be buried in unhallowed ground".
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- "Pontins Prestatyn Holiday Camp 2002". butlinsmemories.com.
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- "Bus_Bristol VR". visit-gloucestershire.co.uk.
- Hugh Leonard, Sunday Independent, December 24th, 1978 (p. 18).