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Home > Popped Clogs

Popped Clog: Bob Grant

Jack the Clippy is riding the big white bus in the sky...

28 November 2003

Bob Grant was born on April 21st 1932 and went to RADA. Then, in 1968, Bob Grant became Jack the Clippy. Jack was the cheeky, toothy sidekick of Stan in “classic British comedy” On The Buses. Stan was the driver, Jack was the conductor. Jack had pale, lanky hair and an eye for the ladies. He is the one on the left in this photo:

jack.jpg

There were 74 episodes of On The Buses (one for every species of mosquito in Canada) and 3 feature films made in quick succession:

    On The Buses (1971)
    Mutiny On The Buses (1972)
    Holiday On The Buses (1973)

Between 1973, when On The Buses stopped being made, and November 8th 2003, Bob Grant remained alive. And then, on the 8th of November 2003, Bob Grant decided to kill Jack the Clippy and himself by trailing a hosepipe round from his car exhaust into the body of car and turning the engine on. This he did.

In Tewksbury.

lovely_tewksbury.jpg

The relationship between Jack the Clippy (we never learn his surname) and Stan Butler, the driver, is that Stan is Jack's fall guy. Jack often seduces women Stan can't get past first-base with. He also comes up with a lot of the ruses re. skiving off work.

Jack is an essential character in the 'On the Buses' crew:

  • Stan Butler (driver of the no. 13 bus to 'Town's End')
  • Stan's mother Mabel
  • Stan's sister Olive
  • Stan's brother-in-law Arthur
  • Jack -- Stan's clippy and best friend
  • Inspector Blakey

    That these half a dozen characters are the ones needed for the comic dynamic is evident in the fact that in the best of the three films, Holiday on the Buses, all six are translated to Pontin's holiday camp with the comedy intact.

    What follows is a brief catalogue of Jack's key moments in the three On The Buses films:

    On the Buses

    a) Jack has a mistress called Betty who lives in a house opposite the 'end of the line' bus-stop for the No. 13. Betty, who is married to a jealous brute, hangs three pairs of knickers out on her washing line as a sign to Jack that the coast is clear, and her husband is out. Incident in film when as the bus arrives at the 'Town's End' bus-stop, Jack looks over, sees the 3 knickers, and says to Stan: "She's waiting for me the little darling." Stan asks: "How do you know her old man ain't there?" Jack explains that the knickers are an all-clear sign, and then adds: "It's better than you think: she's only got 3 pairs."

    b) Jack encourages Stan in his courtship of Maria, the new Irish cook in the depot's canteen. When Jack mildly gropes Maria by offering to 'cross' her himself (she keeps doing this and referring to sin because she's Irish/Catholic, y'see), Maria calls Jack a "sex mad heathen"; to which Jack retorts: "How'd yer guess?" Once Jack and Stan have sat down in the canteen with their steak and kidney dinners and piles of treacle pudding, Jack encourages Stan to invite Maria round to the Butler residence in the evening, as mum, Olive and Arthur will be asleep upstairs so Stan might seduce Maria on the sofa in the front room. Jack urges: "If she's as generous with the rest as she is with her
    treacle pudding you're well in mate".

    c) The one time Stan might actually get a chance to cop off with a bird it's scuppered by union regulations. Bus company's attempts to employ women drivers meets a lot of resistance, and then Stan starts getting cosy with a new female driver, Sally. Jack as union representative tells Stan to back off Sally, but Stan is determined to get Sally round to his house and on the front room sofa. While Stan and Sally get intimate, Stan goes to draw the front room curtains and sees Jack with a small group of bus colleagues at the front door of his house. Jack tells Stan that if he doesn't get Sally out of there within ten seconds: "The lads is gonna do you". Sally is furious. Later on, Sally changes her job from driver to clippy, and Jack acknowledges that this new job for her now means: "she's crumpet mate, she's available". Jack then steals Sally off Stan by beating Stan round to Sally's house with a bunch of flowers. Stan's left on Sally's doorstep in shirt and tie, clasping a bouquet, while Jack and Sally are in their underwear indoors, Jack putting a vase of flowers on the bedroom table, and laughing at Stan through the window as he draws the curtains. Stan utters to himself: "Innit marvellous eh? I do all the driving, 'n' 'e comes along 'n' punches the ticket".

    Mutiny on the Buses

    a) No usurping seductions in this film between Jack and Stan, as Stan is engaged throughout this film to a clippy called Suzy, who will only give herself entirely to Stan when they get a flat together (of course, Stan can't leave the family home, so he never gets his end away here either). But of note in this film is Jack's successful attempts to discredit Blakey and the new radio-controlled system he wants installed in all the buses so that he can keep tracks on them all in time and motion fashion. Jack rewires the radio system, claiming he was "on radios when I done me national service". The results are far-reaching: the bus depot and Blakey reach police radios, and even a PAM AM flight from Calcutta to London.

    Note 1: The title ‘Mutiny on the Buses’ – by far the best of the three film titles – was chosen by means of a nationwide competition.

    Note 2: This is the least satisfactory film for lovers of Jack.

    Holiday on the Buses

    a) Jack steals potential holiday romance material for Stan in the form of a brunette called Mavis. Stan organises for Mavis to go on a holiday trip without her boiler of a mother, and they go on a cruise. The weather is awful and Stan suffers from dreadful seasickness. While he's puking up over the side of the ship, Jack slips into the cabin and finds Mavis and the champagne he'd supplied earlier -- Mavis and Jack jump into bed together.

    b) Blakey, who is the holiday camp security guard, is on close terms with the holiday camp nurse, on account of his bandaged foot, which was run over by Stan's bus at the beginning of the film, when the three of them still had jobs at the depot. Well, now Blakey is courting the nurse, and they're engaged, but haven't shagged. Jack manages to steal nursey, and shags her in her sickroom while patients wait outside. Blakey mistakenly believes Stan is the culprit and not Jack, when he finds Stan's blazer in the sick room. So Jack gets off scot free again.

    c) Jack shows willing to muck in with the Butler family, and proves himself to be a good pal to Stan in spite of stealing his birds. He helps Stan steal holiday camp paint and a new toilet after two separate accidents in the Butlers' holiday chalet.


    Read Robin Ince's review of Holiday On The Buses:

    www.lnreview.co.uk/hi/film/000327.php

    For more 'Buses fun:

    epguides.com/OntheBuses/cast.jpg

    Note: these are the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Unconsciousness
  • Cessation of breathing
  • Cessation of heartbeat
  • Death



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