Love Thy Neighbour, Week 4: Pints And Poppadoms

Unless you've missed it, our reviews of Love thy Neighbour have started a comments box war that shows no sign of abating. Seconds out, round four, ding ding...
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Unless you've missed it, our reviews of Love thy Neighbour have started a comments box war that shows no sign of abating. Seconds out, round four, ding ding...

It’s Week Four in “Love Thy Neighbour” and Grassington is revolting!

It’s not really - it’s actually a very pleasant place, but Channel 4’s latest mongfest has divided the locals. They promised raised eyebrows and high expectations, but what they didn’t expect was the seething division the programme has created in this sleepy Wharfedale town.

On one side are the fame hungry minority who embraced the spotlight, hoping it might bring nice things like skipping children, hunky handymen and coach loads of gullible pensioners to buy their jams and pickles, their daft hats and their latest money shot - the “Love Thy Neighbour” guided tours.

But, despite the bribes they were offered to partake in this disturbing experiment, others have not been so welcoming of the media intrusion. And no wonder. Imagine growing up in a beautiful rural town and then having to move out because you can’t afford to get on the property ladder there? How welcoming would you be to any outsiders gifted a £300,000 house because they turned up for a week, smiled a bit and made a few buns?

And what of Grassington’s legacy? Well, if you’d done a search on Twitter a few months ago you would probably have found words like “quaint”, “idyllic”and “shit parking”, but as I write ”Grassington” is trending and for all the wrong reasons. “In bred, racist, fascist, small minded, horrible, shocking, spiteful, bigoted and cringeworthy shite”, is just a small sample of the nicer stuff they’re saying amongst the tsunami of hatred - and that’s despite these “intolerant vermin” voting in the black couple and the lesbians from previous episodes.

It’s no surprise the majority of residents kept their net curtains firmly closed.

This week we’re treated to a spectacularly dim couple from Essex and a yuppie Indian couple with enough qualifications to fell a horse.

I keep thinking it’s a shame Channel 4 couldn’t have persuaded a Muslim fundamentalist preacher to move in with a harem of burka clad women just so they could have got the reaction they truly craved

Andy is an eight-foot tall, gum chewing, tattooed skinhead who looks a bit handy. He cleans windows. He’s so big he doesn’t need ladders. At least I think he’s big. His partner Vicky is a three foot tall Guatemalan with orange skin and great teeth. She absolutely loves sheep more than any other animal. Or she might just be saying that because she wants to win the shepherd vote.

They arrive and are instantly identifiable as “off cumdens” because it’s freezing cold, pissing it down and according to the locals they’re barely clothed.

Sunny and Anoop want the house because they’re keen to have a garden. They don’t have those sort of luxuries in London. Sunny is a business consultant and smiles a lot. She startles a passing local by saying “hello” and looking slightly too brown.

Anoop rapes the country blind for a living. He’s a banker. What they’ll do in Grassington we have no idea - and neither do they, but - and don’t tell anyone this - it’s not that far from several very large cities where their skills and qualifications would be put to good use.

And, just to remind us (again) that they aren’t typical of the area - despite Grassington’s Bradford post code and the Asian family who run the local curry house, there’s a close up of a tattered Union Jack and a few comments about how they may feel “a bit strange” living amongst people that sit outside all day spinning wool and talking shite. I keep thinking it’s a shame Channel 4 couldn’t have persuaded a Muslim fundamentalist preacher to move in with a harem of burka clad women just so they could have got the reaction they truly craved. So far it’s not so much car crash telly as a slight dent in the bumper.

Lovely Bunty is given the task of meeting this weeks desperados. Bunty is the head of the litter picking patrol - the most feared gang in the village and she’s very impressed with both couples - especially their strange English accents and their attractive faces. She introduces the couples to the regulars down the boozer. This is the bit that always makes my toes curl.

Sunny immediately pisses them all off by announcing their qualifications.  “This is Anoop - he has a phd in astrophysics and he’s a banker”.  Sheesh. That might work in London, but up here you might as well have urinated a pentangle in to the bowling green. To make matters worse she talks about how much she’s looking forward to supporting this “vibrant community”. Everyone stops talking. A dart hovers in mid air. The camera cuts to a steely glare from a Terry Thomas lookalike in the corner. Even the tumbleweed cringes.

Meanwhile Andy is doing his best to provoke a fight. He confronts the local window cleaner in the pub and tells him he’s moving in on his turf and if he doesn’t like it he’ll have to pull his ladder out of his arse.

The skinhead and his orange troll get up.

“What you see is what you get awright? We’re just normal. We ain’t fackin’ brainy like them other two slaags”.

Everyone cheers.

As a gummy old fella kindly puts it, “We don’t need any astro thingy shit in the village”.

Anoop decides they need to push their culture a bit more by hosting a Bollywood night. Cue another shot of an England flag and a local saying they’re happy for things to stay as they are. All nicely edited to make her look like Herman Goering.

Things aren’t helped by the mad knitting women who seem totally bewildered with everything.

“I take it their English is perfect? Oh absolutely beautiful - and they’re a lovely couple…but it’s a long way to a mosque!”.

Meanwhile Andy is doing his best to provoke a fight. He confronts the local window cleaner in the pub and tells him he’s moving in on his turf and if he doesn’t like it he’ll have to pull his ladder out of his arse.

He goes door to door offering to do everyone’s windows for free or he’ll kick their heads in.

They all turn him away.

Bunty invites the couples to a tea party so everyone can rate their baking talents . Sunny brings some lovely little peanut butter cupcakes. Vicky brings a huge lemon drizzle cake. Unbelievably they have the nerve to leave with the half eaten cake - like taking your own beer home from a party. Shocking manners. The Indians win this round.

Anoop offers to work behind the bar and gets his balls broken by a couple of blokes who look like they’ve been welded to the bar for last fifty years. He holds his own and wins over most of the regulars, apart from a young lad who corners him outside and asks him what he can bring to the village. Anoop’s not entirely sure, he’s just glad to avoid a beating.

Busy Bunty takes an opinon poll and it’s not good for Andy & Vicky. They’re losing badly.

Vicky decides to turn things around by hosting a ballroom dancing lesson. She goes down to the pub to drum up some business, but she can’t see over the bar and the landlord kicks her out for being under age.

“I’m not going dancing. The Leeds game kicks off at quarter to eight”, explains one chap - and it looks like he won’t be alone judging by the turn out for Vicky’s dance class.

The next day he gets Vicky to print up a flyer telling everyone how ace they are, but she spells it all wrong and makes him growl like a beast.

From nowhere, eleven confused looking people are pushed in to the room. Vicky suddenly undergoes an amazing transformation and her talents instantly become obvious as she sashays across the dance floor in a sexy little number.

The St Johns Ambulance are called as several elderly gentlemen overheat.

Meanwhile Andy is thinking about the flyer advertising the fund raising Bollywood party Sunny and Anoop are holding.

“It’s a good fing what they is doing for charity, but I think they’re arse lickers”, he kindly mumbles.

Lovely fellow. The next day he gets Vicky to print up a flyer telling everyone how ace they are, but she spells it all wrong and makes him growl like a beast.

Sunny's family come up for the party and suddenly it feels less like Royston Vasey and more like the Khumars at Number Ten as they cluck and fuss around the couple, but their help is invaluable as the party goes down a storm. Bunty gorges on bhajis and an Indian head massage makes her hair look like an explosion in a wire wool factory.

Then comes the final vote.

Sunny and Anoop have raised £150 for local charities and have charmed the village by serving up pints and poppadoms. They’ve walked it.  Judging by the look of despair on Andy’s face he knows he’s blown it. He’s nicked a bloke’s job and all Vicky’s done is cry a bit and shake her moneymaker. Their dream is over.

But somehow in a moment of madness Bunty reads the results out incorrectly. Andy and Vicky get an astonishing 71% of the vote. Evil Mo jumps for joy and the rest of the country tweet that Grassington is very definitely a town full of Nazis and should be razed to the ground.

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