Monday, 1 April 2019

A Comedy On This Day: Love Thy Neighbour - Eddie Comes Back From Holiday (2 April 1973)

 I'd never seen an episode of this [infamous race relations comedy] before... Eddie tricks Bill out of his chair in the pub - but when he gets back from the bar one of Bill's nig-nog friends is sitting there! (So Eddie pours a drink over his head)! The retiring Vicar introduces the Booths to his replacement - but he's another nig-nog! Eddie goes to the grocers to buy a tin of corned beef - but Pakistanis selling poppadom and curry powder now run it! Dear God, this gets repetitive enough over 25 minutes, so how on earth could they have stretched it to 54 episodes?

 There's one scene (in which Joan Booth tries to give the Reynolds a tribal figurine as a holiday present) which falls intriguingly flat with the studio audience. Their muted reception might be because the source of the scene's comedy of embarrassment is poorly telegraphed, or maybe because they find people trying to be nice to one other inherently less funny than them squaring up to each other. The only other surprising moment is the unexpected sound of a voice-over over the end credits (from regular Thames station announcer Philip Elsemore): "Will the honkies beat the sambos? Tune in again next week to find out!"

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