Jack Smethurst

John Smethurst (9 April 1932 – 16 February 2022) was an English television and film comic actor.[2] He was best known for his role as Eddie Booth in the British television sitcom Love Thy Neighbour.

Jack Smethurst
Born(1932-04-09)9 April 1932
Died16 February 2022(2022-02-16) (aged 89)
Years active1950s–2022
Julie Nicholls
(m. 1957)
Children4; including Adam
RelativesRakie Ayola

Early lifeEdit

Smethurst was born on 9 April 1932 in Collyhurst, Manchester.[3]


He made his film debut in 1958's Carry On Sergeant.[4] This was followed by parts in the films Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), A Kind of Loving (1962),[5] Run with the Wind (1966), Night After Night After Night (1970), the big-screen version of Please Sir! (1971) and the ITV sitcom For the Love of Ada (1970–71) amongst others, before he landed the role for which he is best known—that of bigoted socialist and union leader, 'brother' Eddie Booth in Love Thy Neighbour.[6][7] The programme ran for eight series between 1972 and 1976.[8] During this run he also appeared in the 1974 film version of the sitcom Man About the House.[9] He reprised his role as Eddie Booth for the 1979 sequel Love Thy Neighbour in Australia.[10]

After Love Thy Neighbour ended, his film appearances were rare, but included Chariots of Fire (1981), the John Goodman vehicle King Ralph (1991; which re-united him with his Love Thy Neighbour co-star Rudolph Walker) and 1996's La Passione.[11]

He made a guest appearance as Davenport in Britain's longest-running television sitcom Last of the Summer Wine in 1997.[12]

He played four different characters in Coronation Street: a brewery drayman in 1961, and in January 1967 Percy Bridge, who tried to con Elsie Tanner. Between 1980 and 1983, he occasionally appeared as Johnny Webb, one of the men on Eddie Yeats' bin round. In 2001, he returned for several months as Stan Wagstaff, a friend of Jimmy Kelly, who left his allotment to Jack Duckworth. Together with his brother Ernie, Stan let Jack in on Jimmy's big secret—he used his allotment shed to brew poteen.[13]

Smethurst also starred in Vince Powell’s seven-part BBC Radio 2 slice-of-life sitcom A Proper Charlie in 1984, as factory worker Charlie Garside. Madge Hindle played his wife with Jane Hazlegrove and Jason Littler as their daughter and son.[14] A second series of eight episodes followed at the end of 1985.[15]

He worked on stage in Australia when he appeared in the play Run for Your Wife during 1987 and 1988, and the production toured the country. Other members of the cast were David McCallum, Eric Sykes and Katy Manning. Smethurst appeared in a production of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None in 1999.[16]

Smethurst played the "Man in Phone Box" in S5/E8 (1995) of the British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances.[17] In the episode, Hyacinth Bucket tries to get Smethurst's character to relinquish a public telephone booth, which leads her husband, Richard, to yell at her forcefully for the only time in the entire series.[18][19]

Personal life and deathEdit

Smethurst married actress Julie Nicholls in 1957.[20] The couple had four children; Perdita, Merry, Jane and Adam.[2] His son Adam, also an actor, is married to the Welsh actress Rakie Ayola. Smethurst died at his home in Chorleywood on 16 February 2022, at the age of 89.[21][22][1]

Selected filmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1958 Carry On Sergeant First Recruit
1960 Watch Your Stern Sailor
1960 Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Waiter Uncredited[23]
1961 On the Fiddle Dai Tovey
1962 A Kind of Loving Conroy
1964 The Main Chance Ross
1966 Doctor in Clover Long-Haired Patient Uncredited
1966 Run with the Wind Bernie
1969 Night After Night After Night Chief Inspector
1971 The Yes Girls Sam Hed – detective
1972 Please Sir! Bus Driver
1972 For the Love of Ada Leslie Pollitt
1973 Love Thy Neighbour Eddie Booth
1974 Man About the House Jack Smethurst
1981 Chariots of Fire Sleeping Car Attendant
1991 King Ralph Miranda's Father
1992 Don't Tell Father Ron Whipple 3 episodes[24]
1996 La Passione Mickey O'Farrell
1998 Dinnerladies Bob Bellfield (Dolly's Husband) [25]
Main source:[26]


  1. ^ a b Louis, Nathan (18 February 2022). "Love Thy Neighbour's Jack Smethurst, who lived locally, dies aged 89". Watford Observer. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Jack Smethurst obituary". The Guardian. 22 February 2022. Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  3. ^ Donnelley, Paul (19 February 2022). "Actor Jack Smethurst, 1932-2022 – Obituary". Express.co.uk.
  4. ^ "Jack Smethurst | Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.
  5. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Kind of Loving, A (1962)". www.screenonline.org.uk.
  6. ^ "Love Thy Neighbour—ITV Sitcom". British Comedy Guide.
  7. ^ Bennett, Steve. "'Work dried up after Love Thy Neighbour' : News 2016 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". www.chortle.co.uk.
  8. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Love Thy Neighbour (1972–76)". www.screenonline.org.uk.
  9. ^ "Man about the House (1974)". BFI.
  10. ^ "Love Thy Neighbour Goes Down Under". 19 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Jack Smethurst". BFI.
  12. ^ "Deviations with Davenport (1997)". BFI.
  13. ^ Telegraph Obituaries (18 February 2022). "Jack Smethurst, actor best known for playing a racist shop steward in the controversial but popular sitcom Love Thy Neighbour – obituary". The Telegraph.
  14. ^ "A Proper Charlie". BBC Genome. 10 July 1984. p. 46.
  15. ^ "A Proper Charlie". BBC Genome. 10 November 1985. p. 46.
  16. ^ "And Then There Were None". Chesterfield Theatre Friends. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Keeping Up Appearances". TV Guide.
  18. ^ "Keeping Up Appearances Series 5, Episode 8". British Comedy Guide.
  19. ^ "Richard Raises His Voice At Hyacinth | Keeping Up Appearances" – via YouTube.
  20. ^ Telegraph Obituaries (18 February 2022). "Jack Smethurst, actor best known for playing a racist shop steward in the controversial but popular sitcom Love Thy Neighbour – obituary". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  21. ^ "Great Comedy Actor Jack Smethurst Passed Away at 89". US day News. 16 February 2022. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  22. ^ Mwamba, Ramazani (16 February 2022). "Jack Smethurst, star of hit 70s sitcom Love Thy Neighbour, dies aged 89". Manchester Evening News.
  23. ^ "Jack Smethurst: Love Thy Neighbour star dies aged 89". BBC News. 17 February 2022.
  24. ^ David Leafe. British Film Institute Film and Television Handbook 1993. Bloomsbury Academic, 1992.
  25. ^ "Dinner Ladies Cast and Crew Credits". British Comedy Guide.
  26. ^ "Jack Smethurst". BFI.

External linksEdit