Love Thy Neighbour

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Love Thy Neighbour
Created by Vince Powell
& Harry Driver
Starring Jack Smethurst
Rudolph Walker
Nina Baden-Semper
Kate Williams
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 8
No. of episodes 57
Production
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Thames Television
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Original run 13 April 1972 (1972-04-13) – 22 January 1976 (1976-01-22)

Love Thy Neighbour is a British sitcom, which was transmitted from 13 April 1972 until 22 January 1976, spanning eight series. The sitcom was produced by Thames Television for the ITV network. The principal cast included Jack Smethurst, Rudolph Walker, Nina Baden-Semper and Kate Williams. In 1973, the series was adapted into a film of the same name, and a later sequel series was set in Australia.

Synopsis[edit]

The series was created and largely written by Vince Powell and Harry Driver, and was based around a suburban white working class couple in Twickenham attempting to come to terms with having a black couple as next-door neighbours. Love Thy Neighbour was hugely popular at the time of its broadcast; during an era in which Britain struggled to come to terms with its recently arrived population of black immigrants, Love Thy Neighbour exemplified this struggle. It aroused great controversy for many of the same reasons as the earlier Till Death Us Do Part had done.

The views of the white male character (Eddie Booth, played by Smethurst) were presented in such a way as to make him appear stupid and bigoted, and were contrasted with the more tolerant attitude of his wife. His use of terms such as "nig-nog" to refer to his black neighbour attracted considerable criticism from viewers.[citation needed]

The male black character was, in contrast educated and sophisticated, although stubborn and also capable of using insulting phrases, such as the terms "Honky", "Snowflake", "Paleface" or "Big White Chief" to describe his white neighbour (often in response to being called "nig-nog" or "Sambo"). The series has since been repeated on satellite television stations in the UK, although each episode begins with a warning about content. Repeats of the show are also shown in Australia on the Seven Network Digital channel. The theme song "Love Thy Neighbour" was composed by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel and sung by Stuart Gillies.

A spin-off series, Love Thy Neighbour in Australia was filmed in 1979. Consisting of seven episodes, the series saw the character Eddie Booth transplanted to the Sydney suburb of Blacktown. The explanation given for the absence of Eddie's wife and child is Eddie has emigrated first and the family will join him after he has established himself. The antagonism between Eddie and Bill was replaced by the difficulty of Eddie adapting to Australia.

Characters[edit]

  • Eddie Booth (Jack Smethurst) is a working-class white socialist. His world is turned on its head when Bill and Barbie Reynolds move in next door. He is even more annoyed when Bill gets a job at the same factory as he has, and refers to him as a "nig-nog", "Sambo", "choc-ice" or "King Kong". He also has a tendency to call Chinese, Pakistanis or Indians names like "Fu Manchu", "Gunga Din" and "Ali Baba". He is a supporter of Manchester United. His catchphrases include "Bloody Nora!", "Knickers!", "The subject is closed", "You bloody nig-nog!" and "Get knotted!"
  • Joan Booth (Kate Williams) is Eddie's wife. She does not share her bigoted husband's opinion of their black neighbours, and is good friends with Barbie. Her catchphrases include "Don't be ridiculous!" and "Don't talk rubbish!". Played by Gwendolyn Watts in the pilot episode.
  • Bill Reynolds (Rudolph Walker) is a West Indian and a Conservative. Whenever Eddie tries to outdo him, Bill usually ends up having the last laugh. He occasionally refers to Eddie as a "white honky" and "snowflake", and does not like catching Eddie staring at his wife. He also has a very high-pitched laugh. His catchphrases include "Hey, honky!", "Cobblers!" and "You talking to me, snowflake?".
  • Barbie Reynolds (Nina Baden-Semper) is Bill's wife and gets along very well with her next door neighbour, Joan Booth. Eddie is sometimes fascinated by her, as in the pilot episode when she bends over while wearing hot pants.
  • Jacko Robinson (Keith Marsh) is a socialist who works with Bill and Eddie. His catchphrase is "I'll have half".
  • Arthur Thomas (Tommy Godfrey) is another of Eddie and Bill's socialist co-workers at the factory, and is often seen in the local pub playing cards and talking about trade union issues. Arthur, like Joan, is also more tolerant of Bill than Eddie is.

Criticism[edit]

Love Thy Neighbour has been criticised for its politically incorrect handling of issues of race, although its writers have claimed that each episode included both anti-white and anti-black sentiment.[1] It is often used as shorthand for television before the era of political correctness. Although both characters were bigoted and intolerant, Bill usually had the last laugh and rarely got his comeuppance.

References in popular culture[edit]

Stand-up comedian Stephen K Amos regularly refers to Love Thy Neighbour in his routines, with particular emphasis on how it changed the way white people regarded him and his family.

During the film version of Man About the House, Smethurst and Walker appeared as themselves, sitting in the Thames Television bar. The assumption was that they were taking a break from recording the TV series. When George Roper saw them, he had a flash of recognition and said, "Hey, that's the nig-nog!" Smethurst rebuked him, "Don't talk to my friend like that."

Film[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Pilot[edit]

0. "The Pilot" (Unbroadcast Pilot Episode)

Series 1 (1972)[edit]

  1. "New Neighbours" (Broadcast: 13 April 1972)
  2. "Limbo Dancing" (Broadcast: 20 April 1972)
  3. "The Petition" (Broadcast: 27 April 1972)
  4. "Factory Dispute" (Broadcast: 4 May 1972)
  5. "The Seven Year Itch" (Broadcast: 11 May 1972)
  6. "Refused A Drink" (Broadcast: 18 May 1972)
  7. "Sex Appeal" (Broadcast: 25 May 1972)

Series 2 (1972)[edit]

  1. "The Housewarming Party" (Broadcast: 11 September 1972)
  2. "Voodoo" (Broadcast: 18 September 1972)
  3. "Clarky Leaves" (Broadcast: 25 September 1972)
  4. "The Bedroom Suite" (Broadcast: 2 October 1972)
  5. "The T.U.C Conference '72" (Broadcast: 9 October 1972)
  6. "Religious Fervour" (Broadcast: 16 October 1972)

All Star Christmas Special[edit]

  1. "All Star Comedy Carnival" (Broadcast: 25 December 1972)

Series 3 (1973)[edit]

  1. "The G.P.O" (Broadcast: 19 March 1973)
  2. "The Car" (Broadcast: 26 March 1973)
  3. "Eddie Returns From Holiday" (Broadcast: 2 April 1973)
  4. "Lion And The Lamb" (Broadcast: 9 April 1973)
  5. "The Lift" (Broadcast: 16 April 1973)
  6. "Barbie Becomes Pregnant" (Broadcast: 30 April 1973)

Series 4 (1973–74)[edit]

  1. "Hines' Sight" (Broadcast: 12 December 1973)
  2. "Friendly" (Broadcast: 19 December 1973)
  3. "Working On New Year's Eve" (Broadcast: 31 December 1973)
  4. "Eddie's Mother In Law" (Broadcast: 7 January 1974)
  5. "The Ante-Natal Clinic" (Broadcast: 14 January 1974)
  6. "Two Weeks To Babies" (Broadcast: 21 January 1974)
  7. "To The Hospital" (Broadcast: 28 January 1974)
  8. "The Big Day" (Broadcast: 4 February 1974)
  9. "The Mediterranean" (Broadcast: 11 February 1974)
  10. "Bananas" (Broadcast: 18 February 1974)
  11. "Teething Problems" (Broadcast: 25 February 1974)
  12. "Cat's Away" (Broadcast: 4 March 1974)
  13. "Ghosts" (Broadcast: 11 March 1974)
  14. "Eddie's Birthday" (Broadcast: 18 March 1974)
  15. "April Fools" (Broadcast: 25 March 1974)

Series 5 (1975)[edit]

  1. "Reggie" (Broadcast: 2 January 1975)
  2. "Jacko's Wedding" (Broadcast: 9 January 1975)
  3. "Duel At Dawn" (Broadcast: 16 January 1975)
  4. "The Darts' Final" (Broadcast: 23 January 1975)
  5. "Royal Blood" (Broadcast: 30 January 1975)
  6. "Club Concert" (Broadcast: 6 February 1975)
  7. "The Nannies" (Broadcast: 13 February 1975)

Series 6 (1975)[edit]

  1. "Famous Crimes" (Broadcast: 17 April 1975)
  2. "The Lady And The Tramp" (Broadcast: 24 April 1975)
  3. "Protection Of The Law" (Broadcast: 1 May 1975)
  4. "The Opinion Poll" (Broadcast: 8 May 1975)
  5. "Manchester... United" (Broadcast: 15 May 1975)
  6. "The T.U.C Conference '75" (Broadcast: 22 May 1975)

Series 7 (1975–76)[edit]

  1. "The Local By-Election" (Broadcast: 11 December 1975)
  2. "Eddie Becomes A Father Again" (Broadcast: 18 December 1975)
  3. "Christmas Spirit" (Broadcast: 25 December 1975)
  4. "The Couch Outing To Bournemouth" (Broadcast: 1 January 1976)
  5. "For Sale" (Broadcast: 8 January 1976)
  6. "Power Cut" (Broadcast: 15 January 1976)
  7. "The Lodger" (Broadcast: 22 January 1976)

DVD releases[edit]

The DVD releases of Love Thy Neighbour are somewhat muddled. Series 1–3 were originally released by Pegasus Entertainment, and Series 4–8 were released by FremantleMedia. Once Fremantle released the issues with the DVD, they decided to completely release all the series in the correct order. The film has also been released by FremantleMedia. The following list shows each DVD release as available:

The episodes "All Star Comedy Carnival" and "April Fools" have not been made available on DVD.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bite The Mango Film Festival 2003". The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford. 2003. 

External links[edit]