On The Buses, The Canteen, 1969

The Canteen was the sixth episode of the first series of the popular sitcom and sees the busmen running their canteen.

First broadcast in 1969 it’s surprising how some of the content is relevant today.


Dissatisfied by the way the management has been running the canteen the busmen are given the job of running it themselves.  Shop Steward Jack puts Stan in charge.  Stan has to find a cook and gives the job to Mrs Sharma, his colleague’s wife, who tells Stan that she had previously worked as a cook in a bus depot.

The following day, Stan gets a shock when he realises that Mrs Sharma can’t speak English and previously worked for an Indian bus depot, not an English bus depot. The Indian food she gives the busmen isn’t the food they want and upsets their stomachs.

Faced with a revolt from his colleagues Stan is forced to sack Mrs Sharma, but his problems don’t stop there.  He is persuaded by his family to give the job to Olive on the basis she always watches Fanny Craddock and will be helped by his Mum.

The first day on the job Olive and Mum are unable to cook anything, with Mum unable to use the electric stove which results in her scorching the bottom off the pan and Olive accidentally putting the fish in the deep freeze.  Stan is forced to go to a local fish and chip shop and buy the food for the busmen there.

As a consequence of Stan’s actions the canteen has lost more money than ever before, so the management are forced to take back control .



Stan Butler – Reg Varney
Jack Harper – Bob Grant
Olive Rudge – Anna Karen
Mabel “Mum” Butler – CicelyCoutneidge
Inspector Blake – Stephen Lewis
Arthur Rudge – Michael Robbins


Channel: ITV
Written By: Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe
Produced By: Stuart Allen
Original Transmission Date: 4th April 1969