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Love Thy Neighbour could be back

...but this time with the roles are reversed

Race-clash sitcom Love Thy Neighbour could return – but this time with the black family as the snobs.

The original Seventies comedy is largely seen as racist today, because much of the laughs came from white actor Jack Smethurst’s bigoted jibes against his new black neighbour, played by current EastEnders star Rudolph Walker.

But in a planned new sketch show, a professional black couple are horrified when a chavvy white family move in next door.

The spoof appears in a pilot episode of show called U Kno Wot I Mean? – and is set to feature as a recurring theme.

Former Big Brother contestant Derek Laud, the gay former Tory speechwriter, plays a black barrister married to Andrea, an architect, who hate their working-class white neighbours.

Laud said: ‘They have recently won the Lottery and are absolutely dreadful. She comes out of the house in slippers and a nightdress, showing her cleavage all the time and smoking cigarettes. He wears gold chains and trainers and is revolting.’

Producer Michael Desmond told Chortle: ‘The spoof is a sketch which has been included in the pilot of our new comedy sketch show, U Kno Wot I Mean?

‘We finish filming tomorrow and expect it to be broadcast in the autumn.

‘Kerrie Fairclough, who plays the chain-smoking, Jade-Goody-style neighbour from hell, gives such a good performance, it is almost irresistible.’

Desmond’s company Airedale TV expects to make a six-episode series of the sketch show in the spring, but it is not yet known which broadcaster may be interested. Channel 4 have said they are not piloting the show, contrary to weekend reports.

He added: ‘We may include sketches with the same performers, based on the same theme, in the series.’

The show also promises more ‘resurrected comic creations of the past’ including Hyacinth Bucket and Mrs Slocombe ‘in slightly unusual circumstances’.

A spokesman said: ‘From avant-garde to Carry On, bete noire to surrealism, Cheap Laughs will provide post-watershed comedy with a difference. It’s funny.’

Despite - or perhaps because of - its controversial reputation, plenty of episodes of Love Thy Neighbour have been posted on YouTube:

Posted: 23 Sep 2007

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