Michael Robbins

Michael Anthony Robbins (14 November 1930 – 11 December 1992) was an English actor and comedian best known for his ongoing role as Arthur Rudge in the TV sitcom and film versions of On the Buses (1969–72).

Michael Robbins
Robbins as Arthur Rudge in On the Buses
Michael Anthony Robbins

(1930-11-14)14 November 1930
London, England
Died11 December 1992(1992-12-11) (aged 62)
Caterham, Surrey, England
OccupationActor and comedian
Years active1957–1991
Spouse(s)Shirley Hal Dyer (1960–1992; his death)


Michael Robbins was born in Croydon in Greater London to Percival W. Robbins (1899–1956) and Bertha May née Sindall (1900–1997) who outlived him. From 1939 to 1944 Robbins was a pupil at St Michael's College, a Catholic school for boys, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. He then went on to work as a bank clerk and later became an actor after appearing in amateur dramatic performances also in Hitchin, where he and his family lived at the time. He took part in the 1951 Hitchin Pageant dressed as a gladiator.

Robbins made his television debut as the cockney soldier in Roll-on Bloomin' Death. Primarily a comedy actor, he is best remembered for the role of Arthur Rudge, the persistently sarcastic husband of Olive (Anna Karen), in the popular sitcom On the Buses (1969–73). Robbins and Karen provided the secondary comic storyline to Reg Varney's comedy capers at the bus depot. Robbins also appeared in the series film spin-offs, On the Buses, Mutiny on the Buses, and Holiday on the Buses.

His other comedy credits include non-recurring roles in Man About the House, Oh Brother!, The Good Life, One Foot in the Grave, The New Statesman, George and Mildred, Hi-de-Hi! and You Rang, M'Lord? He appeared as a rather humorously portrayed police sergeant in the TV adaptation of Brendon Chase.

As well as these comic roles, he assumed various straight roles in some of the major British television shows of the 1960s and 1970s: including the role of the hard-drinking old sea dog Harry Baxter in The Saint episode The People Importers. He also made appearances in Minder, The Sweeney, Z-Cars, Return of the Saint, Murder Most English, The Avengers, Dixon of Dock Green, The Bill and the 1982 Doctor Who story "The Visitation".[1]

Robbins's film credits included The Whisperers, Up The Junction, Till Death Us Do Part, The Looking Glass War, Zeppelin and Blake Edwards' films The Pink Panther Strikes Again and Victor/Victoria. He also had an extensive career as a radio actor, including a role in the soap opera Waggoners' Walk.

Robbins was an indefatigable worker for charity. He was active in the Grand Order of Water Rats (being elected 'Rat of the Year' in 1978) and the Catholic Stage Guild, and received a Papal Award for his services in 1987. In one of his last television appearances, in A Little Bit of Heaven Robbins recalled his childhood visits to Norfolk and spoke of his faith and love of the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham.

In the mid-1970s he also directed a film, How Are You?.

He also appeared as a councillor in EastEnders in May 1989

Personal life

Robbins was married to actress Hal Dyer from 1960 until his death from prostate cancer in 1992 aged 62. Dyer died in 2011 from a brain hemorrhage.

Selected filmography


Further reading

  • The Daily Telegraph Third Book of Obituaries (Entertainers) – Edited by Hugh Massingberd

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