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An omnibus (or omnibus edition) is a compilation of several television or radio episodes into a single instalment. An omnibus is similar to, but distinct from, what is called a marathon in other countries; In an omnibus, individual episodes are edited together (with the first episode having its closing credits removed, the final episode having the opening credits removed, and each episode in between lacking any credits whatsoever) into a single programme, whereas in a marathon the episodes are aired separately but in sequence. The term has been most frequently used in the United Kingdom, though it has also been used in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Brookside was the first television soap to have what was called an omnibus edition, in 1991; it continued until the series ended in 2003. EastEnders introduced the equivalent of an omnibus edition starting in the 1980s, but the term "omnibus" was not used until the 1990s.

United KingdomEdit

In the United Kingdom, many soap operas have been regularly repeated in omnibus format; For example, both EastEnders[1][2] and Hollyoaks[3][4] air on weekends in an omnibus edition that compiles episodes previously aired during the week. Serials, such as The Sarah Jane Adventures[5] and Dead Set[6] have been presented as complete storylines in this format.

Omnibus formatting has also been used on home video; For example, the first home video releases of Doctor Who from BBC Studios Distribution re-formatted each serial into a "feature-length adventure".[7][8]

Programs that are or have been transmitted in omnibus format in Britain include:


Programme Years Channel(s)
Brookside 1991–2003 Channel 4
Coronation Street 2006–present ITV2
EastEnders 1994–2015
BBC One,
Emmerdale 2000-present
Hollyoaks 1995–present,
Channel 4 (part of T4),
Home and Away 1999–2000,
UK Living,
Channel 5,
Viva (UK and Ireland)
Neighbours 1993–2001,
UK Gold,
Viva (UK and Ireland)



Other countriesEdit

United StatesEdit

SoapNet in the United States also utilized the omnibus format for weekend re-airings of their major soap operas until its December 2013 demise; however the term used in that case is as a marathon (the more common term for omnibus used by North American broadcasters) as all of the five programmes aired by a soap per week were aired consecutively without editing them together. As all four current American soaps also carry their episodes either via Hulu or through network websites, omnibuses and marathons are no longer maintained.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "EastEnders". BBC One. BBC. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  2. ^ "EastEnders Omnibus". BBC One. BBC. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Hollyoaks: Episodes". All 4. Channel Four Television Corporation. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Hollyoaks: Omnibus: Episodes". All 4. Channel Four Television Corporation. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  5. ^ "The Sarah Jane Adventures: Series 1 (Double Episodes): Revenge of the Slitheen". BBC One. BBC. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Dead Set: Episodes". All 4. Channel Four Television Corporation. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  7. ^ Doctor Who: The Robots of Death (VHS (Back cover)). BBC Studios Distribution. 1986.
  8. ^ "DOCTOR WHO - THE ROBOTS OF DEATH (1986)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 6 December 2018.