Love Thy Neighbour

Love Thy Neighbour

infobox television
show_name = Love Thy Neighbour


caption = Rudolph Walker as Bill Reynolds and Jack Smethurst as Eddie Booth
format = Sitcom
runtime = 25 minutes
creator = Vince Powell
& Harry Driver
starring = Rudolph Walker
Jack Smethurst
Nina Baden-Semper
Kate Williams
country = UK
network = Thames Television
first_aired = 13 April 1972
last_aired = 22 January 1977
num_series = 8
num_episodes = 56
(including unbroadcast pilot and film adaptation)
imdb_id = 0068096

"Love Thy Neighbour" is a British sitcom which ran from 13 April 1972 to 22 January 1977, made by Thames Television for ITV. It starred Jack Smethurst, Rudolph Walker, Nina Baden-Semper and Kate Williams. There was also a movie spin-off Love Thy Neighbour (film) and a brief sequel set in Australia.

The series (and movie) was created and largely written by Vince Powell and Harry Driver, and was based around a suburban white working class couple who unwittingly found themselves living next door to a black couple, and the white couple's attempts to come to terms with this.

"Love Thy Neighbour" was hugely popular in the 1970s. During that era Britain struggled to come to terms with its recently arrived population of black immigrants, and "Love Thy Neighbour" exemplified this struggle. It aroused great controversy for many of the same reasons as the earlier (and more subtle) "Till Death Us Do Part" - which was the model for the American hit comedy series "All in the Family". The views of the white male character (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, despite being intended as ironic by the script-writers, attracted considerable criticism from viewers. The male black character was, in contrast educated and sophisticated, although stubborn and also capable of racism using the terms "Honky", "Snowflake", "Paleface" or "Big White Chief" to describe his white neighbour.

"Love Thy Neighbour" is now seen by many as a 1970s period piece owing to its dated and politically incorrect handling of issues of race, although its writers have claimed that each episode included both anti-white and anti-black sentiment. [cite web|url=http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/btm/2003/strand_tvheaven.asp|title= Bite The Mango Film Festival 2003|Publisher= The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford|year=2003] In defence against these many modern accusations of racism made retrospectively against the show (and similar racial sitcoms of its era), others have noted "as is always the case with 'racist 70s sit-coms'... they've failed to point out that all the white characters are always horrible and brutish while the ethnic parts are always played sympathetically." Also in response to the criticism, Vince Powell added "I only ever wanted to make people laugh." [cite web|url=http://web.archive.org/web/20010128131000/http://mudhole.spodnet.uk.com/~frogger/corpses/update2/hell.htm|title= SOTCAA: The 100 Greatest Moments From TV Hell|Publisher= SOTCAA|date=2007-04-20]

The first series was however released on a Region 2 DVD in October 2003, with series 2 following in May 2004. The film version was also released on DVD in 2004. In the original version of the pilot episode, which has never been screened, the role of Joan was played by Gwendolyn Watts. It is featured on the Series One DVD (disc four).

The series has since been shown in the UK on satellite Television with warnings about content at the start of each show.

Smethurst and Walker appeared as themselves, sitting in the Thames Television bar during the film version of "Man About The House". The assumption was given that they were taking a break from recording the TV series.

Characters

Eddie Booth (Jack Smethurst) is a 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 him, and refers to him as a "nig-nog", "Sambo", "choc-ice" or "King Kong". He also has a tendency to call Pakistanis or Indians names like "Gunga Din" and "Ali Baba". He is a very devoted supporter of the Manchester United Football Club.

Catchphrases: "Bloody Nora!" "Knickers!" "The subject is closed". "YOU (BLOODY) NIG-NOG!" "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 great friends with Barbie.

Catchphrases: "Don't be ridiculous!" "Don't talk rubbish!".

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 doesn't like catching Eddie staring at his wife. He also has a very high-pitched laugh.

Catchphrases: "Hey, honky!". "Cobblers!" "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, especially in the pilot episode when she bent over while wearing hot pants. This instance is considered by many to be one of the most erotic instances in (British) broadcasting.

References in popular culture

*Bill Bryson, in his book "Notes From A Small Island" about his travels around the UK in the 1970s, says he once found himself watching something on TV that appeared to be "My Neighbour Is A Darkie".

*Spoofed on "The Day Today", with the white neighbours deliberately mis-hearing everything their Indian-British neighbour says and in some way physically hurting them as a result.

Quotes

*Eddie (drunkenly, to Joan): "Hello, love".Joan: "Don't you 'love' me".

*Flat Cap Jacko "I'll av Half".

*"Eddie, painted like a black man, approaces a waitress"

Eddie (deep voice): "Ello there, honeychild".

"The waitress screams and drops her tray"

Barman: "What's going on?".

Eddie (normal voice): "It was an accident".

Waitress: "He tried to rape me"

Eddie: "You should be so lucky".

ee also

*List of films based on British sitcoms

DVD Releases

All 8 series' of "Love Thy Neighbour" are now available on DVD. Series' 1 - 4 were released by Pegasus Entertainment, and series' 5 to 8 by FremantleMedia. Fans should note that although Pegasus only released three sets, they do contain the first FOUR series (complete), with episodes having been mixed up and spread around. Of Pegasus's releases, only the first series' DVD is entirely correct. Subtitles feature only on the Fremantle releases, alas.

Pegasus Releases -
*Love Thy Neighbour Series 1 - All 7 episodes plus bonus unbroadcast pilot episode
*Love Thy Neighbour Series 2 - All 6 episodes plus first 4 episodes from series 3
*Love Thy Neighbour Series 3 - Last 2 episodes from series 3 plus all 8 episodes from series 4 (series 4 had 8 episodes, including an extended 40-minute New Year special)

All episodes, despite being organised incorrectly, "ARE" in chronological order.

Fremantle Releases -
*Love Thy Neighbour Series 4 - All 8 episodes (as they had previously been incorrectly released by Pegasus, this DVD is now deleted)
*Love Thy Neighbour Series 5 - All 6 episodes
*Love Thy Neighbour Series 6 - All 7 episodes
*Love Thy Neighbour Series 7 - All 7 episodes
*Love Thy Neighbour Series 8 - All 6 episodes

*Love Thy Neighbour in Australia - This series made in the early 80s following the demise of the UK series is available on DVD in Australia, released by EMI, and has become a popular purchase for UK fans via eBay, largely due to the fact that it is region free (and therefore able to be played on any DVD player in the world) and also because the series has only been shown once in the UK.

*Love Thy Neighbour - The Movie - Released a number of times in different packaging.

References

External links

* [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/1108234/index.html "Race and Sitcom"]
* (TV series)
*
* (film)


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