The series was created and largely written by Vince Powell and Harry Driver, and was based around a suburban white working class couple who 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 at the time of its broadcast. 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 attracted considerable criticism from viewers.
The male black character 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, however, each episode begins with a warning about content at the start of each show. Repeats of the show are also shown in Australia on the Seven Network Digital channel. The theme song "Love Thy Neighbour" was composed by Mack Gordon & Harry Revel and sung by Stuart Gillies.
A spin-off series, Love Thy Neighbour in Australia was filmed in 1979. 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 Bill 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.
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