Country Bus: How a two-hour bus trip tour of the Yorkshire Dales caused a social media stir

THERE was no music, no introduction, no commentary and no adverts... so why did the two-hour TV special of a bus trip through the Yorkshire Dales prove so popular?

All Aboard! The Country Bus took Twitter by storm on Monday evening as the show gave a two-hour real-time trip on a bus through the Yorkshire Dales. Pictures: Lucy Bowden

Early figures indicate that almost a million viewers tuned in on Bank Holiday Monday evening to watch the Northern Dalesman service wind its way through the splendid Yorkshire countryside.

But it was on Twitter where news of the show really started to cause a stir as #CountryBus started trending and proud Yorkshire folk started to wax lyrical about the splendour of their wonderful county.

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Country Bus was among the BBCs top 30 popular shows in the iPlayer on Tuesday afternoon.

Special cameras were fitted to the bus, displaying its route - stretching from Richmond to Ingleton - in real time, capturing the road ahead, the passing scenery and the occasional chatter of the regular passengers.

The BBC Four show, All Aboard! The Country Bus, is the latest in a series of ‘slow’ programmes, following the success of The Sleigh Ride and Slow Week.

The ‘Dalesman’s 40-mile route includes a blossoming river valley, ancient meadows, agricultural pastures and ancient mining villages, and passes over high open heathland, before a final stretch across the hilly Dales past Ribbleshead viaduct.

The programme featured captions integrated into the landscape to provide details about the dramatic countryside through which the bus was passing - from aspects of the geographical or geological environment, to specific highlights of Britain’s agricultural or industrial heritage, from the ancient stone hay barns that dot the landscape to the scars left behind by the lead mining of previous centuries.

The Twitter reaction was, on the whole, positive with those watching it transfixed with the scenery and those who were unable to watch it desperate to know when and how they could watch a repeat!

The praise was headed by ‏@Yorkshire_Life which tweeted: “What wonderful television the #CountryBus is - no dialogue or narration. Just lets the beautiful #YorkshireDales speak for itself”

Ed Jennings (‏@Ed_Jennings) added: “If you aren’t watching BBC4 right now, I have no idea what you’re doing with your life. #CountryBus” while _DNCN‏(@DNCN_MCR) wrote “I’ve slept on it now and i’m still convinced #CountryBus is the best thing ‘ve ever seen on British TV.”

The support went on... here are some of the best tweets in support of the show.

itsallaboutcake ‏(@Itsallaboutcake) #CountryBus is what the BBC is for. No other broadcaster in the world would do this.

Jo (‏@Jodelle08) Thank you @BBCFOUR for 2 hours of sublime TV last night. #CountryBus. More please.

Jacqui Wicks (‏@OssettObserver) Whoever commissioned #CountryBus is in my opinion a broadcasting genius!

Tim Schofield (‏@jonesonenil) @BBCFOUR I’d love everyone to see this, particularly those who have never ventured any further north than Watford. Gorgeous TV. #CountryBus

Kate Chapman ‏(@surreykate) Wow I want to go on this bus #CountryBus

smudgesmam ‏(@lynnebroom) Feeling all emotional since the beauty that was #CountryBus on #BBC4 fantastic two hours!

lucy lawson (‏@amypoops) How awesome was #CountryBus and how lucky am I to live there !! #FeelingBlessed #YorkshireDales

Chris Crispy McLaren ‏(@crispy_180) #CountryBus Love the way this is trending, and the way it has caught people’s imagination as well! Watched all 2 hours of it as well!!

Nicola Paton Art (‏@nikki_paton) Can’t believe how much I enjoyed #CountryBus :)

ANDY URRY ‏(@IRONONTHEUP) #bbc4 #countrybus only in the uk could you see such fabulous TV footage, Well done Bbc4 more please !

Passengers getting on the bus.

Jane Roberts ‏(@JaneElRoberts) Can I go on #CountryBus The Return? Peaceful, relaxing, stunning Yorkshire Dales scenery & silence but for an occasional baaing sheep. Bliss

Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four says: “I’m delighted that Slow television has struck such a chord with BBC Four viewers. This programme offered another very special treat; an opportunity to sit back and appreciate the sights and sounds of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in a rich and absorbing antidote to the frenetic pace of modern life.”

All Aboard! The Country Bus was aired on BBC Four on Monday, August 29 but is now available to download on the BBC iPlayer.

Passengers on the bus.
Bus and driver, John Matthews.
Passengers getting on the bus.
Passengers on the bus.
Bus and driver, John Matthews.