Inside Story (BBC documentary series, 1975- )


Programme: Seeing Red
"During the run up and period just after the 1992 General Election, the BBC filmed an episode called 'Seeing Red' about London's bus drivers. It was filmed at Centrewest's Westbourne Park depot near Paddington and featured a selection of employees and the issues they dealt with in the job. The idea was to see how these employees felt about the possible selling off of London Buses depending on who was elected but it covered a lot of issues in bus work, including the suspension of one driver for a number of offences. Featured the types in service at the time including Routemasters, Metrobuses and Wright Handybus Darts in service and at the garage. A range of different staff were interviewed from conductors, fitters and drivers." (thanks John Hammond)
Malcolm Rennie adds: "The interviews with the platform staff were mainly while the buses were in service. The female Metrobus driver was on route 18, the Dart driver was on the 28 and the Routemaster driver and conductor were on the 15."
Robert Sharpe also adds: "there was a Routemaster - on service 15 - which asked for a mobile inspector of some kind to attend to it. The reason was an upset emotional female passenger with her daughter. Got so bad that even the Met had to be called!!! She was put onto the following service (also a Routemaster) at no extra cost to herself. One thing about that driver on the 18. On the first service of the day which left at 5.45 am, the driver completed the turn in uniform but with her hair net and curlers still in place!"
Malcolm continues, "Lest we forget, a union official gives the pay rates of 1992 as £4.31 per hour for a minibus driver and £5.60 for omo double deck drivers. Curiously while the programme was about Centrewest's Westbourne Park depot, the opening frames of the programme show Leaside MCW Metrobus GBU1V - M1443 (bought second hand from GMPTE) emerging from a bus wash."
      An early morning view of MA-class Mercedes 811D/Alexander minibuses:
Numerous AEC Routemasters are seen in service, most of them unidentifiable in the grainy footage these screencaps are from, including RM1856 (856DYE), RML2394(JJD394D), RML2430 (JJD430D), RML2478 (JJD478D, seen overtaking an L-class Leyland Olympian)), RML2476 (JJD476D):
Among the Wright Handybus bodied Dennis Darts in Gold Arrow livery seen are DW22 (JDZ2322) and DW90 (JDZ2390):
....and there's a brief view of MA101, a Mercedes 811D/Alexander, in the bus wash - it carries registration VLT31, taken from RM31.
(thanks Peter Horrex)
A 2003 report had Conservative politician Ann Widdecombe trying to determine whether or not chivalry is dead! Graeme Selway notes: "Filmed in Bournemouth, we saw some general shots including a Yellow Buses East Lancs-bodied Dennis Trident or Volvo B7TL, plus a similarly bodied Dennis Dart SLF and Wilts and Dorset's Optare MetroRider K528 UJT together with several of their Optare Solos. We were also treated to a (obviously staged) trip on a Solo with the aforementioned Ms Widdecombe, which was edited to suggest that the bus in question was V685FEL.... or one of the V-DFX batch. Of course in reality, it was probably neither!".

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