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 7
No. of episodes 53 (list of episodes)
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Thames Television
Original network ITV
Original release 13 April 1972 (1972-04-13) – 22 January 1976 (1976-01-22)

Love Thy Neighbour is a British sitcom, which was broadcast from 13 April 1972 until 22 January 1976, spanning seven series and fifty-four episodes. The series 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.


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 BBC's earlier Till Death Us Do Part had done.

The views of the main 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.

The main male black character (Bill Reynolds, played by Walker) 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 7Two. 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, (three years after the series ended). 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.


  • Eddie Booth (Jack Smethurst) is a working-class white socialist. His world is turned upside-down 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" and "King Kong" among other things. He also has a tendency to call Chinese, Pakistanis or Indians names like "Fu Manchu", "Gunga Din" and "Ali Baba". He repeatedly insinuates that all blacks (and Bill in particular) are cannibals and claims that "white always takes precedence over black". He was temporarily promoted to foreman in the episode "Clarky Leaves", but ended up being demoted after Bill complained he was running the factory like a forced labour camp, and Bill got the job afterwards. 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. She often responds to Eddie's complaints with a sarcastic remark. Her catchphrases include "Don't be ridiculous!", "Don't talk rubbish!", and "May God forgive ya", which she normally says in response to Eddie denying his bigoted ways. She and Barbie both become pregnant at the end of Series 3 with Joan giving birth to a son, Mark. 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 and rarely gets his comeuppance. He tends to have a very short temper especially where Eddie's concerned and has threatened him with a clenched fist several times. Although more sophisticated and educated compared to Eddie, Bill is also stubborn and is more than capable of using insulting phrases as 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. Bill was promoted to foreman at the end of the episode "Clarky Leaves". His catchphrases include "Hey, honky!", "Cobblers!" and "You talking to me, snowflake?".
  • Barbie Reynolds (Nina Baden-Semper) is Bill's wife. Barbie and her next door neighbour, Joan Booth, instantly strike up a friendship that carries on throughout the series, and the two women are often seen drinking tea or eating or getting caught up in their antagonistic husbands' latest row. Eddie is sometimes fascinated by her, as in the pilot episode when she bends over while wearing hotpants. She and Joan both become pregnant at the end of Series 3, with Barbie giving birth to a son, Terry. Unlike other characters she doesn't have any catchphrases.
  • Jacko Robinson (Keith Marsh) is a socialist who works with Bill and Eddie. His catchphrase is "I'll have half" (referring to a half pint of bitter). He isn't very bright and often deviates from discussions between Eddie, Bill and Arthur.
  • 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.
  • Nobby Garside (Paul Luty) is the barman of the social club from series 4 onwards. Initially aggressive towards Eddie, they gradually sort out their differences as the series goes on

Criticism for handling of race issues[edit]

Since the series first began airing in 1972 Love Thy Neighbour has been criticised for its politically incorrect handling of issues of racism, 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.

Others have noted that Love Thy Neighbour was merely an attempt by ITV to capitalise on the success of Johnny Speight's Till Death Us Do Part, but with inferior writing.[2] Speight's series has been repeated (and spawned a sequel in the 1980s), but repeats of Love Thy Neighbour have not been seen on British television for many years.

American remake[edit]

An American version of the show, set in the suburbs of Los Angeles and titled Love Thy Neighbor, ran during the summer of 1973 on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) television network.[3] This toned-down version of the British original ran for one series of twelve episodes.[4]

Other appearance[edit]

Smethurst and Walker appeared as relaxing actors having a drink together in the studio bar when George Roper (Brian Murphy) walks in while searching the Thames Television TV studios in the 1974 film Man About the House.


Episodes of the series[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)
  • All written by Vince Powell and Harry Driver

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 written by Vince Powell and Harry Driver

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)
  • All written by Vince Powell and Harry Driver

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)
  • Episode 1-8 written by Vince Powell and Harry Driver
  • Episode 9-14 written by Vince Powell

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)
  • All written by Vince Powell

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: 25 May 1975)
  • Episode 1 written by Sid Colin
  • Episode 2 written by Brian Cooke
  • Episode 3 written by Jon Watkins
  • Episode 4 written by H.V. Kershaw
  • Episode 5 written by Colin Edmonds
  • Episode 6 written by George Evans and Lawrie Wyman

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 Coach 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)
  • Episode 1 written by Johnny Mortimer
  • Episode 2 written by Brian Cooke
  • Episode 3 written by Sid Colin
  • Episode 4 written by Spike Mullins
  • Episode 5 written by H.V. Kershaw
  • Episode 6 written by George Evans and Lawrie Wyman
  • Episode 7 written by Adele Rose

DVD releases[edit]

Until 2016, the series' DVD releases had been somewhat muddled. Confusing earlier releases were superseded by the Love Thy Neighbour: The Complete Series 9-DVD box set from Network DVD. It includes the unscreened pilot episode, all eight series in their intended running order, the Christmas 1972 short sketch for All Star Comedy Carnival, the 1973 New Year Special and a new transfer of the 1973 feature film in its theatrical aspect ratio. It coincided with a standalone release of the feature film on Blu-ray.

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, however, Coach Outing to Bournemouth was placed on the series 7 DVD. The film has been released by Studiocanal. The following list shows the previous two sets of DVD releases:

The often quoted missing 'April Fool' episode does not actually exist. During the 1974 run of the show it was postponed one week which led to it running longer than intended and receiving billing in the TV Times for more weeks than it should. Teething Problems was delayed so the Bananas episode scheduled to be broadcast on 25 February was not actually broadcast until April 1 where the TV Times added an April Fool reference to the description that appeared for the earlier screening. So the April Fools episode is actually Bananas which is included in the DVD set. The Coach Trip was due to be aired with series 6, but due to unknown reasons was not broadcast. It later appeared as part of series 7, with the new title The Coach Outing to Bournemouth.[citation needed]

The DVDs list eight series, rather than the actual transmitted seven series. Series 4 was split up, with episodes 1-8 featured on the series 4 DVD, which is the pregnancy story arc and the final episodes written together by creators Vince Powell and Harry Driver. Series 5 DVD is actually the remaining episodes of series 4, which are standalone episodes and, following the illness and subsequent death of co-creator Harry Driver, are solely written by Powell.

After the initial Broadcast of 'The Big Day' (Series 4), in which Jack Smethhurst plays the new baby as well as himself, there was an extra film of Nina Baden-Semper and Kate Williams with their real new born babies (The reason for the pregnancy theme of the series). This extra bit was not on the Pegasus DVD, but is on the Fremantle DVD of Series 4.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bite The Mango Film Festival 2003". The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford. 2003. Archived from the original on 14 February 2007. 
  2. ^ Clapson, Mark (2009) The Routledge Companion to Britain in the Twentieth Century, Routledge, p. 376
  3. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows - 1946-Present (2007). p. 819. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Leszczak, Bob. Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979: A Complete Guide. pp. 108–110. ISBN 978-0-7864-6812-6. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 

External links[edit]