Monday, 25 September 2017

'Love Thy Neighbour' Down Under

I was rifling through a few old UK sitcom videos on YouTube today and came across Love Thy Neighbour from the 1970s.

Thames TV Production

Love Thy Neighbour was a Thames TV production screened on the ITV network that would certainly never see the light of day in these more liberated times.

Starring Jack Smethurst and Rudolph Walker (now featuring as Patrick in BBC’s flagship soap ‘EastEnders’ - see right), it was the story of two couples living next door to each other. One couple were black while the other were white and it brought to the fore the animosity held between the two male characters, meanwhile their character wives were great friends.

Racist Overtones

The racist overtones expressed quite freely throughout the programme were, in my opinion, even totally unacceptable back then and the reason the show has not seen a more recent airing on the numerous satellite channels we now have, bears witness that this holds true, if not more so, to this day.

Sequel Down Under

But I was unaware that the show, like other 70s sitcoms actually received a sequel ‘Down Under’ as it was produced in Australia after its run in the UK came to a close. 

Again it featured Jack Smethurst, this time playing the same Eddie Booth character who had supposedly emigrated to the other side of the world and was awaiting his family to join him.

The difference however, was that his neighbours were white and consequently it was just based on two sets of home dwellers not getting on and nothing to do with colour as in its UK version.

Other 70s Sitcoms in Australia

Other UK shows that have made it to the other side of the world for Australian series in addition to their UK predecessor include such greats as ‘Doctor in the House’ (as ‘Doctor Down Under’), ‘Father Dear Father’ and ‘Are You Being Served’.

‘Love Thy Neighbour in Australia’ is available to watch on YouTube should you so desire, though somehow I don’t think I will bother tuning in.

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