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You’ll unlikely remember the 1969 ITV sitcom On The Buses, where bus crew members were encouraged to form their own work football team in order to play against the Basildon Bashers. But now, nearly 50 years after the last episode of the series aired, TV and film-buffs want to find out why Reg Varney left the show.
If you’re a fan of the show, you might recall seeing Reg Varney’s character Stan Butler leaving On The Buses in 1973, during the appropriately titled episode “Goodbye Stan”.
His departure meant Varney wasn’t present in the last six episodes of the series, with his character being explained as moving to the Midlands to work in a factory that manufactures buses. However, Varney did show up for the third On The Buses movie in 1973, called Holiday on the Buses.
So why did Reg Varney leave the series in the first place? Well, it’s been widely speculated that the comic-turned-actor left to pursue a film career, but that didn’t quite work out for Varney. Another theory for why he left the show was because he had simply outgrown it.
The Guardian reported that Varney was already in his mid-50s when he landed the role in 1969, making him 20 years older than his co-star Stephen Lewis, who played his senior Inspector, Blake, on the show. Furthermore, Varney was only nine years younger than his on-screen mum Doris Hare, who he acted alongside from the second series onwards.
It’s also reported that Varney then semi-retired in 1981 after suffering from a heart attack. He recovered, and ended up living until age 92. The actor died in 2008 of a chest infection.
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