5th September 2008
By Paul Burton
Starring Reg Varney, Bob Grant, Doris Hare, Stephen Lewis, Michael Robbins and Anna Karen, On
the Buses regularly attracted the kind of ratings TV executives only dream of these days in this multi-channel age.
As a result, Hammer Films signed the cast for three 90-minute feature films. Titled On The Buses,
Mutiny On The Buses and Holiday On The Buses, the trio were made and recorded at Elstree between 1971 and 1973, with location
work taking place in and around Borehamwood.
Although a real bus station was used for the exteriors in the TV version, it was actually Stage
5 at Elstree that was used as the depot in all three films.
Sadly, Stage 5 was one of six demolished in the early Nineties. Today a Tesco supermarket is
situated on the land. Ironically, buses do now ferry real passengers to and from this site.
As a huge fan of the On The Buses film series, it is always a pleasure for me to walk up to
the studios along Shenley Road on my visits to the town. This was one of the roads featured heavily as a location in the first
two films. If you watch the films, you can easily pick out which parts of the road were used.
Malden Road is where the house used as Stan Butler's home is located.
The laundrette featured in the first of the films is still situated in Manor Way, and Whitsehouse
Avenue is where the house is located that was used as Turnaround Betty's home.
Cast members Bob Grant, Doris Hare and Michael Robbins are sadly gone, but the films are still
there for all to watch and enjoy in repeat TV screenings and on DVD.
So there you have it, the studios to date, but as they are constantly busy and have new film
and TV productions taking to the stages all the time, the story continues.
Personally I would like to see the old back lot area built for The Shining used once again.
Any remaining land could have a street exterior set built for filming or photo shoots. Ultimately, like many other people,
I want to see expansion to Elstree Studios wherever possible. A new museum or visitors' centre should be built, which would
be ideal for audiences visiting shows such as Big Brother, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and Dancing On Ice. People could
learn more about the studios and buy DVDs of productions made there.
I hope Elstree Studios will continue to thrive. I certainly continue to feel proud and privileged
when I make visits and meet members of the team who now run the site.
If you have enjoyed reading this series of articles, then please feel free to read my new blog
on this website by clicking onto 'Paul Burton' in the blog's section.
In my blog will be continuing to add my thoughts on the history of Elstree Studios, amongst
the many other Borehamwood-related subjects I will be featuring.