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 54
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 transmitted 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 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". 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


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.

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.

Bill Bryson mentioned this sitcom in his book 'notes on a small island' saying that it was called 'my neighbour is a darkie' (or may as well have been) remarking that he found it to be moronic.

During the film version of Man About the House, Smethurst and Walker appeared as themselves, sitting in the Thames Television bar. The assumption[by whom?] 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."[citation needed]

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.[2] This toned-down version of the British original ran for twelve episodes and was not picked up for the fall.[3]


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 9-15 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]

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, however, Coach Outing to Bournemouth was placed on the series 7 DVD. The film has also been released by FremantleMedia. The following list shows each DVD release as available:

The episode "All Star Comedy Carnival" has not been made available on DVD.

The often quoted missing April Fool episode does not actually exist. During the 1974 run of the show it was postponed one week which lead 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 billed to appear on February 25th didn't actually appear until April 1st where the TV Times kindly added an April Fool reference to the description that appeared for the earlier screening - no doubt to give it some kind of relevance for the day it appeared but the description is the same and the guest cast is the same. So the April Fools episode is actually Bananas - which is of course on the dvd set. The Coach Trip episode does remain misplaced on the wrong disc but this confirms there are no episodes missing

This dispells the myth about the LTN dvd's but someone at Wiki seems to think they know better. I will not re-edit this again. If you wish to keep the page with a major error then please do.

Also, we have a list of 7 series then references to dvd's of 8 series which needs tidying up. This extra series 8 was created by mistake because of the close proximity of 2 series where there was only a very short break and which was actually just one series which was why when Fremantle issued their series 4 dvd it actually included part of the Pegasus series 3 release which actually had part of series 4 - so it was an error on the part of Pegasus but it does appear as if the error was directly related to the break in transmission when series 4 was interrupted and which lead to the belief there was one more episode than there really is.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bite The Mango Film Festival 2003". The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford. 2003. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Leszczak, Bob. Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979: A Complete Guide. pp. 108–110. ISBN 978-0-7864-6812-6. 

External links[edit]