TV Shows We Used To Watch – 1970′s British TV show – Love thy Neighbour
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‘Love Thy Neighbour’ was a popular British sitcom, which was aired from April 13, 1972, until January 22, 1976, spanning seven series.
The sitcom was produced by Thames Television and broadcast by ITV. The main cast included Jack Smethurst, Rudolph Walker, Nina Baden-Semper and Kate Williams. In 1973, the series was adapted into a movie, with a sequel series 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 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 Till Death Us Do Part.
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, 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.
The series has since been repeated on satellite television stations in the UK, however, each episode begins with a warning about content at the start of each show.
Eddie Booth (Jack Smethurst) is a 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 him, 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 very devoted supporter of Manchester United Football Club. 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!".
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. 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, especially in the pilot episode when she bent over while wearing hot pants.
Jacko Robinson (Keith Marsh) is an elderly white man and socialist who works with Bill and Eddie. His catchphrase is "I’ll have half", in reference to a half pint of beer.
Arthur Thomas (Tommy Godfrey) is another of Eddie and Bill’s co-workers at the factory, and is often seen in the local pub playing cards and talking about trade union issues.
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.
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.
See ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ Video Clip