Rudolph Walker defends Love Thy Neighbour
4 June 2018 - 2:00 PM

Rudolph Walker defends Love Thy Neighbour

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udolph Walker insists "Love Thy Neighbour" was always about "pure entertainment" rather than trying to "solve the problem of racism".

The "EastEnders" actor portrayed Bill Reynolds in the 1970s sitcom, which saw his character frequently racially abused by his neighbour Eddie Booth (Jack Smethurst), but he has defended the programme, insisting the show was supposed to be light-hearted.

He said: "It was for pure entertainment. It wasn't meant to solve the problem of racism at all.

"If you could solve it in a half-hour programme then there wouldn't be racism at all.

"As I said, it was meant for pure entertainment. Full stop."

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Rudolph admitted one concern he has about society nowadays is that people have become so conscious about trying to avoid saying the wrong thing, and it "worries" him that people "can't be relaxed in each other's company" anymore.

Speaking on "This Morning", he added: "Things have changed. What I find sad today is that we've become so politically correct.

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"This is not saying we should be calling each other names.

"We've got to be so careful, I can't talk about your white hair, I can't talk about this...

"But have things improved since then? That worries me, it worries me that we can't be relaxed in each other's company and have fun with each other, and not have a label stuck on our head.

"I go back to Trinidad and it's fantastic when I go there because we take the Mickey out of each other.

"There's nothing harsh about it, it's light-hearted."

In 2013, Rudolph claimed older black people in Britain often approach him to ask if "Love Thy Neighbour" can be brought back, rather than discuss the racial abuse his character was subjected to.

He said: "Obviously, we know they can't bring it back in this climate. The classic example is that in black countries such as the West Indies and Nigeria, they play the series and people still kill themselves with laughter when they see it."

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