Ken Hoare and Mike Sharland's amusing little creation brightened up a night for many during the mid '60's for a total of three series. Produced by David Croft ( who would later create some of Britain's best loved sitcoms with Jimmy Perry including 'Dad's Army' and 'Hi-De-Hi' ), 'Beggar My Neighbour' starred June Whitfield as harassed housewife Rose Garvey and Peter Jones ( who was replaced in series two by Desmond Walter Ellis ) as her snooty husband Gerald, an underpaid junior executive who likes to maintain an illusion that he and his wife are financially well off when in fact they are quite the opposite. Living next door are Lana ( who is Rose's sister and is played by Pat Coombs ) and Harry Butt ( Reg Varney in pre-'On The Buses' mode ). Harry is a fitter whose high wage packet has insured that he and Lana enjoy a high standard of living - a nice home, a nice car, nice clothes. However, in spite of their wealth, they remain down to earth.
Needless to say, Gerald is deeply jealous of Harry and Lana's luxurious lifestyle and does everything he can to convince them, as well as many others that he is far better off, which usually culminates in Gerald ( as well as Rose, who regularly became involved in Gerald's schemes ) drawing the short straw of fate.
Out of 23 episodes, only seven still survive. I have only seen two episodes and, whilst not a remarkable show, on the whole I enjoyed it. Gerald Garvey is similar to the later Hyacinth Bucket from Roy Clarke's 'Keeping Up Appearances' in that he thinks he is on a higher social standing than he actually is and is usually made to look extremely foolish, though Patricia Routledge's character was far more amusing and likable in my view. I have never seen Peter Jones' portrayal of Gerald so cannot compare him to Desmond Walter Ellis though the latter's portrayal was not unimpressive. June Whitfield and the late Pat Coombs were of good value as the wives, though it is Reg Varney who stands out from all. Reg had previously gained regular television exposure in Ronald Wolfe & Ronald Chesney's 'The Rag Trade' though he would later be seen to better comic effect in the aforementioned 'On The Buses' ( from the same writing team behind 'The Rag Trade' ).
Of all the cast, only June Whitfield survives. Her most recent work was with Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in 'Absolutely Fabulous - The Movie'. I have not watched it, and have no intentions of ever doing so. I would rather devote my time watching more of her early work such as 'Happy Ever After', 'Terry & June' and this.
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