Beggar My Neighbour

1967 | United Kingdom

The first series that reunited Reg Varney and Peter Jones saw something of a role reversal to the characters they had played in the long running The Rag Trade. First shown as part of the BBC's popular Comedy Playhouse on 24 May 1966, Beggar My Neighbour, written by Ken Hoare and Mike Sharland, took the theme of keeping-up-with-the-Joneses (in this case the Butts) and turned out a first class sitcom that ran for three series. 

Rose Garvey (June Whitfield) and Lana Butt (Pat Coombs) were married sisters who lived next door each other in Larkworthy Road, Muswell Hill, North London. While Rose's husband Gerald (Jones) was an underpaid junior executive who had to struggle to make ends meet, Lana's husband, (Harry) was an overpaid fitter who enjoyed foreign holidays, flashy cars and all mod-cons. However, Gerald's upbringing had made him something of a snob and he constantly refused to admit that his brother-in-law could afford the things that he couldn't. This led to problems as the Garvey's tried to keep up with the Butt's, especially Lana, who would often put on airs and graces, which in turn would lead even the usually reserved Rose to make exaggerated boasts about their lifestyle, which they would then have to try and live up to. Although the series was instantly popular with the public, Peter Jones left after the first season saying that he didn't want to get stuck with another long-running role as he had with The Rag Trade

For series two and three Desmond Walter-Ellis played Gerald. The series ran from March 1967 to March 1968 and a short special was shown as part of Christmas Night With The Stars on 25 December 1967. David Croft produced the pilot and series one and two, Eric Fawcett the remainder. 

Published on November 29th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

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