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Love Thy Neighbour (1972-76)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

The front window of Bill Reynolds' house displays a large poster of Ted Heath, bearing the legend 'VOTE TORY'. He tells his wife Barbie that the poster is intended to antagonise his neighbour, Eddie Booth, a Labour voter.

Eddie has gone to the Labour Party committee rooms to meet Hugh Scanlon, the union leader. Returning home, he proudly tells his wife Joan that tomorrow he will meet the Labour Party leader, Harold Wilson. She is not impressed - she prefers Ted Heath. Leaving the house, Eddie spots Bill's poster and angrily calls upon his neighbour, demanding that it be removed. The two men argue noisily. Shortly after this altercation, Eddie sneakily puts a poster of Harold Wilson over the poster of Ted Heath, to Bill's fury.

Later, Joan tells Eddie that she has invited Bill and Barbie over. When they arrive, Eddie and Bill find it difficult to put aside their differences. They end up in a heated discussion about racial discrimination. Bill claims that because he is black, he has trouble getting served in pubs and bars. Eddie is dismissive of this. They make a bet, arranging to visit an upmarket bar the following evening to discover whether Bill is right or not.

The next day, Bill tells Joan that he feels the excursion won't prove anything, because, if accompanied by somebody white, he will be served. However, Eddie has already forseen this possibility, and has donned makeup and a large afro wig, in an attempt to pretend that he is black.

Everybody laughs at Eddie's appearance, and Barbie points out that his wig is too large to be plausible. It is cut shorter before Bill and Eddie leave to go out as arranged.

Awaiting opening time in an upmarket bar, the two men argue about Eddie's ideas regarding racial evolution. They are interrupted when an old man mistakes Eddie for a black and white minstrel, and asks for an autograph. Eddie's appearance scares a waitress, and he is thrown out of the bar; Bill, however, is allowed to stay.

Returning home, Eddie claims that he now accepts that discrimination takes place. It transpires that he has thoughtlessly coloured his skin with permanent shoe dye that cannot be removed easily. Thus Eddie is later forced to meet Harold Wilson with shoe dye on his face and hands. To Eddie's discomfort, Harold Wilson thinks he is black.