Beggar My Neighbour

A comedy by Arnold Ridley
22-23 May 1953
Faringdon Corn Exchange, Corn Market, Faringdon SN7 7JA

The author Arnold Ridley achieved fame as Private Charles Godfrey, the gentle platoon medic, in the BBC comedy-sitcom, Dad’s Army from 1968 to 1977.

beggar-my-neighbour-1953-photo

The action of this three-act play takes place in a room in the Norton’s semi-detached house near Twickenham.

beggar-my-neighbourA film adaptation of this play from Ealing Studios this same year, called ‘Meet Mr Lucifer‘, tells a story about how television is ruining the cinema experience. (But only 1 in 5 households in the UK had one then!).

In this film version, the Devil enlists a past-his-prime pantomime performer to use a ‘cursed’ television set to make people miserable. One of the victims receives it as a retirement gift, only for crowds of neighbours to descend nightly on his rooming house. (This did actually happen for the Queen’s coronation later on that year!) Another gives the set to his wife only for his plans to study for an important exam to come a cropper. It then passes to a third, a shy bachelor, who becomes besotted by a TV Lonely Hearts singer.

 

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