All Aboard! The Country Bus – as it happened

We're here for every twist and turn as BBC4's latest 'slow TV' project makes its way through the Yorkshire Dales


Join us as we commentate BBC4’s real-time bus journey from 8.00pm, and just remember to ring the bell if you want to get off.


This live blog is now concluded

22.06: Anyway, this is my stop so I shall take my leave. It’s been a lot of fun, and don’t worry – live blogs are like buses. Even after one leaves, another will turn up soon to endlessly go on in a way that seems more entertaining than it probably is.

For now I bid you adieu, and thanks for joining me. For I am the Lord of the bus, said he!

22.02: I now can’t deal with all the action and speech in this David Attenborough documentary, I feel like I’ve been in solitary confinement.

22.00: So that was All Aboard! The Country Bus. Personal highlights: the bit where a sheep ran along, the bit where different types of grass were revealed to me and the bit where the bus silently went past some stunning scenery. That last one was quite a long bit.

21.59: Oh, and then it ended! That was too abrupt! I was still emotionally invested.

21.58: Ooh, this is the Ribblehead viaduct! The dramatic crescendo of this whole journey!

21.57: Driver John helping an old lady there. Is he this nice without cameras on him? I like to think so. But I’m a big softy.

21.56: Guys, I think we’re coming to the end. This is actually pretty emotional.

21.55: A new spin-off for The Office?

21.53: Just wait til the sheep gets his cloven hooves on one of those motorbikes…

21.50: Can’t help but feel this programme could have been a tight hour and 30 if they’d used this bus instead…

21.46: OH MY GOD a sheep is chasing the bus. They’re giving us action as we approach the end of the line.

Did it have to get to an appointment? Does it have some opinions about the future of the BBC? Or was it a zombie sheep with a taste for human flesh? Tune in to next week’s five-hour retrospective on a lorry’s journey over the M25 to find out.

21.45: Dare we hope for the Empire Strikes Back to this evening’s Star Wars?

21.43: Not being funny, but I think this is genuinely giving me motion sickness. I mean, it COULD have been the mound of mashed potato I had before I started this, but I’m gonna go ahead and blame the Dalesman. Just think of the compensation.

21.41. Awww, he’s a friendly bus driver. 

21.40: If true, here’s a fun bit of colour for viewers at home…

21.37: Oh hey, they did that cool “old photo superimposed onto modern shot” thing that always seems to pop up on Facebook. Judging by its late inclusion in this programme (in less I missed it earlier) they only had that one photo, and had to wait until the bus reached the random bit of meadow…

21.35: Time for the next song in our playlist. What I Go to School for by BUS-ted. Eh? Eh?

The Northern Dalesman is only a single decker, sure, but it’s close enough.

20.34: Currently picturing a follow-up to this called All Aboard! The Inner City Bus, where the beautiful vistas are replaced by footage of endless Starbucks branches and the peaceful silence is punctuated by passers-by yelling expletives at the road. Can’t wait.

20.29: Now entering Grinton! Very picturesque. OOOh and some new passengers? And dialogue! Be still my beating heart. You’re right nice lady, it IS a beautiful day.

20.27: We’re getting into some PROPER scenery now lads. Ooh-wee. This is the good stuff.

20.23: It was a nice day when they shot this. I wonder how many runs of it they had to do before they got the version they wanted? Imagine if they got an hour and a half in on one run, then a dog started tearing apart a pigeon by the side of the road and they had to start all over again.

Though I suppose they do have a few different cameras, so with some judicious cuts they could get the shots they needed from one trip. Hmm. Who knew a bus ride could have so many mysteries?

20.18: By the way, I’m not commenting on every bit of explanatory text that pops up because it seems cruel to make you read something twice. You’re on a bank holiday dammit, if you wanted to read stuff you’d have gone into copywriting like your mother wanted.

20.16: I know, I know, I’m probably expecting too much from this, especially considering the last bus-themed show I invested any time in was SLIGHTLY unconcerned with realism itself…

20.12: I’m just gonna come out with it – kinda feels like they’re cheating by often having the camera looking out of the side. This is not the cinéma vérité production I was expecting. And even an aerial shot! What is this, Top Gear?

Also, the side shots kind of give the impression that the driver isn’t watching the road, but maybe that’s just me.

20.10: I’ll probably say this now so as to not say it constantly tonight, but wow – this is some pretty scenery. And there’s still an awful lot more to come…

20.08: As our plucky bus crew heads for the open road, it seems like a good time to introduce my Country Bus playlist – all bus-themed songs, to keep you musically as well as visually entertained for the next hour and 50 minutes. Beginning with an obvious choice – childhood classic The Wheels on the Bus.

20.05: That is a FASCINATING tattoo on driver John Matthews. It looks like an intricate drawing of clocks, forever frozen in ink – perhaps coming from a premonition that he, one day, would get the chance to make time stand still for so many on national television. He’s been waiting his whole life for this one.

20.02: We are starting off in Richmond, apparently named because of a strong hill. Also, the journey proper has begun and it’s all very Google Street View. Except, you know, a less hands-on version.

20.00: And here we go gang! As the Northern Dalesman pulls to a stop, the plucky passengers join the bus fun. This is about the most action we’ll be seeing for the next two hours, so buckle up.

7.00pm: Hello and welcome to this,’s most ambitious live blog yet: two hours of commentary on a TV show where pretty much nothing happens at all.

After success with real-time films of sleigh rides and canal boats, BBC4 has now opted for a rather more familiar mode of transportation to strap some cameras to for hours of (mostly) silent viewing – a bus, travelling through the scenic Yorkshire Dales from 8.00pm tonight.

We’re promised gorgeous vistas, interesting local facts and the vague sense that you’ve missed your stop somewhere, and frankly I can’t wait. Though it’s possible slow TV has already jumped the shark (or basking shark, if that’s slower) – the show’s description includes “occasional chatter” from the passengers, and frankly if I wanted that kind of pulse-pounding excitement I’d be listening to BBC Radio 3.

Anyway, your conductor for this journey will be me, Huw, and the fare is whatever portion of the license fee covers BBC4’s budget. We’ll set off at 8.00pm along with the bus, so join me back here then.


It’s sure to be the ride of our lives…