1 9 6 7 – 1 9 6 8 (UK)
23 x 30 minute episodes
1 x short special
Beggar My Neighbour featured two families; The Garveys – Gerald (Peter Jones) was an underpaid junior executive married to Rose (June Whitfield) and the pair were chronically hard-up – and The Butts – skiving but opulent fitter Harry (Reg Varney) and wife Lana (Pat Coombs).
The Garveys and the Butts lived next door each other in Larkworthy Road, Muswell Hill (North London) and the two wives were actually sisters. Their houses were named “Dun Roamin'” and “Sans Souci” respectively.
Much of the comedy stemmed from the differing financial status of the two couples, with the Garveys eternally struggling while the (unfortunately named) Butts were quite comfortable and enjoyed foreign holidays, flashy cars and all mod-cons.
Gerald’s upbringing had made him something of a snob and he 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.
This, in turn, would lead the usually reserved Rose to make exaggerated boasts about their lifestyle, which they would then have to try and live up to.
Peter Jones left after the first series saying that he didn’t want to get stuck with another long-running role as he had with The Rag Trade (in which he had also co-starred with Reg Varney). For series two and three, Desmond Walter-Ellis played Gerald.
Beggar My Neighbour was yet another BBC1 sitcom originally shown as a Comedy Playhouse production.
Peter Jones (1)
Desmond Walter-Ellis (2)