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Template:Infobox television

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 (often in response to being called "nig-nog" or "Sambo"). 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. The theme song "Love Thy "Neighbour" was composed by Roger Webb.


  • 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!". 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 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. Arthur, like Joan, is also more tolerant of Bill than Eddie is.


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

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". The show was spoofed on The Day Today as "Them Next Door", with the white neighbours deliberately mis-hearing everything their Indian-British neighbour said and in some way physically hurting them as a result. Stand-up comedian Stephen K Amos regularly refers to Love Thy Neighbour in his routines, focusing particularly on how it changed white people's perceptions of 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.


Series One
  1. "The Pilot" (Broadcast: Not Broadcast)
  2. "New Neighbours" (Broadcast: April 13, 1972)
  3. "Limbo Dancing" (Broadcast: April 20, 1972)
  4. "The Petition" (Broadcast: April 27, 1972)
  5. "Factory Dispute" (Broadcast: May 4, 1972)
  6. "The Seven Year Itch" (Broadcast: May 11, 1972)
  7. "Refused A Drink" (Broadcast: May 18, 1972)
  8. "Sex Appeal" (Broadcast: May 25, 1972)
Series Two
  1. "The Housewarming Party" (Broadcast: September 11, 1972)
  2. "Voodoo" (Broadcast: September 18, 1972)
  3. "Clarky Leaves" (Broadcast: September 25, 1972)
  4. "The Bedroom Suite" (Broadcast: October 2, 1972)
  5. "Religious Fever" (Broadcast: October 9, 1972)
  6. "All Star Comedy Carnival" (Broadcast: October 16, 1972)
Series Three
  1. "The G.P.O" (Broadcast: March 19, 1973)
  2. "The Car" (Broadcast: March 26, 1973)
  3. "Eddie Returns From Holiday" (Broadcast: April 2, 1973)
  4. "Lion And The Lamb" (Broadcast: April 9, 1973)
  5. "The Lift" (Broadcast: April 16, 1973)
  6. "Barbie Becomes Pregnant" (Broadcast: April 30, 1973)
The Movie
  1. "Love Thy Neighbour" (Broadcast: August 26, 1973)
Series Four
  1. "Hines' Sight" (Broadcast: December 12, 1973)
  2. "Friendly" (Broadcast: December 19, 1973)
  3. "Working On New Year's Eve" (Broadcast: December 31, 1973)
  4. "Eddie's Mother In Law" (Broadcast: January 7, 1974)
  5. "The Ante-Natal Clinic" (Broadcast: January 14, 1974)
  6. "Two Weeks To Babies" (Broadcast: January 21, 1974)
  7. "To The Hospital" (Broadcast: January 28, 1974)
  8. "The Big Day" (Broadcast: February 4, 1974)
  9. "The Mediterranean" (Broadcast: February 11, 1974)
  10. "Bananas" (Broadcast: February 18, 1974)
  11. "Teething Problems" (Broadcast: February 25, 1974)
  12. "Cat's Away" (Broadcast: March 4, 1974)
  13. "Ghosts" (Broadcast: March 11, 1974)
  14. "Eddie's Birthday" (Broadcast: March 18, 1974)
  15. "April Fools" (Broadcast: March 25, 1974)
Series Five
  1. "Reggie" (Broadcast: January 2, 1975)
  2. "Jacko's Wedding" (Broadcast: January 9, 1975)
  3. "Duel At Dawn" (Broadcast: January 16, 1975)
  4. "The Darts' Final" (Broadcast: January 23, 1975)
  5. "Royal Blood" (Broadcast: January 30, 1975)
  6. "Club Concert" (Broadcast: February 6, 1975)
  7. "The Nannies" (Broadcast: February 13, 1975)
Series Six
  1. "Famous Crimes" (Broadcast: April 17, 1975)
  2. "The Lady And The Tramp" (Broadcast: April 24, 1975)
  3. "Protection Of The Law" (Broadcast: May 1, 1975)
  4. "The Opinion Poll" (Broadcast: May 8, 1975)
  5. "Manchester... United" (Broadcast: May 15, 1975)
  6. "The T.U.C Conference" (Broadcast: May 22, 1975)
  7. "Coach Trip" (Broadcast: May 29, 1975)
Series Seven
  1. "The Local By-Election" (Broadcast: December 11, 1975)
  2. "Eddie Becomes A Father Again" (Broadcast: December 18, 1975)
  3. "Christmas Spirit" (Broadcast: December 25, 1975)
  4. "The Coach Outing To Bournemouth" (Broadcast: January 1, 1976)
  5. "For Sale" (Broadcast: January 8, 1976)
  6. "Power Cut" (Broadcast: January 15, 1976)
  7. "The Lodger" (Broadcast: January 22, 1976)

DVD releases

All seven series of Love Thy Neighbour are available to buy on DVD. Series 1-3 were originally released by Pegasus Entertainment, and Series 4-8 were released by FremantleMedia. The movie has also been released by FremantleMedia. However, episode 15 Of Series 4, "April Fools", has been omitted from the DVD due to contractual problems. The releases are as follows:

  • Series One (Pegasus) - Complete First Series (8 Episodes)
  • Series Two (Pegasus) - Complete Second Series, Episodes 1-4 Of Series 3
  • Series Three (Pegasus) - Episodes 4-6 Of Series 3, Episodes 1-8 Of Series 4
  • Series Four (Fremantle) - Episodes 1-8 Of Series 4
  • Series Five (Fremantle) - Episodes 9-14 Of Series 4
  • Series Six (Fremantle) - Complete Series Five (7 Episodes)
  • Series Seven (Fremantle) - Complete Series Six (7 Episodes)
  • Series Eight (Fremantle) - Complete Series Seven (7 Episodes)
  • The Movie (Fremantle)

However, Network plan to re-release each series in the near future, with the inclusion of "April Fools", and each series containing the correct episodes for that series. Those releases are as follows:

  • Series One - Complete First Series (8 Episodes)
  • Series Two - Complete Second Series (6 Episodes)
  • Series Three - Complete Third Series (6 Episodes)
  • Series Four - Complete Fourth Series (15 Episodes)
  • Series Five - Complete Fifth Series (7 Episodes)
  • Series Six - Complete Sixth Series (7 Episodes)
  • Series Seven - Complete Seventh Series (7 Episodes)
  • The Complete Box Set - All Seven Series, Plus "The Movie"

See also


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

External links

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