TV review: The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door

Channel 5 delved into the world of nightmare neighbours last night - we had a watch...

TV review: The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door

Philip Chawner heads a family you wouldn’t want to be related to

‘Wherever we go, there’s always nasty neighbours’ – these words from one member of a deluded family of horrible slobs summed up the show really. 

The cliché goes that every man’s home is his castle. With the kind of dreadful scenarios facing residents in this show, you’d hope that castle could have a big moat, high garden walls and some fairly significant grounds to put some distance between it and those living next door.

The show introduced viewers to three unenviable situations – the first of which was the grotty and rowdy Chawner family moving onto an estate on Ramsbottom and the fallout of their relocation from the south of England for their new neighbours.

The Chawner family across as conspiracy theorists, convinced in their belief that everywhere they go, everyone is out to get them. 

It was pretty difficult not to judge them when the commentary revealed this family had been the subject of more than 600 noise complaints over eight years which peaked when one angry resident attacked one of them. 

The family claimed there was nothing wrong with their dog and yet any time it appeared on camera, it was noisily barking.

It was hard to believe their claims that everyone was out to get them too, after the camera cut away to reveal the state of their house and it looked disgusting – mess everywhere. They looked like they had not had a wash in days. If you knew you were going to be on television or at least be filmed, I am certain you would have at least have had a shower, maybe put on some of your best clothes – not Sunday best, but smart. The father in this family was even filmed in his lounge jokingly waving his shoe, with which he had stepped in dog mess, at his daughters’ faces for a joke. That is not the move of a particularly house proud or even pleasant guy.

The show also tracked the 10-month battle of Carol with her neighbour. The hair-raising introduction she described probably said it all. The lady apparently banged on the door, asked if she knew the person living on the opposite side and, in apparent disbelief, asked if she knew she had been making reports to social services. 

It is just not even close to the awkward introduction you would expect from your new neighbour – politely asking what you do, if you have family and more. To say alarm bells must have been ringing for Carol might just be an understatement. She went on to explain that her neighbour would often fly into a rage and could be heard through the walls banging every door in the house and the walls themselves after she returned from work to her children. When challenged, the noise grew.

The show certainly lived up to its name and the third neighbour from hell fairly completed the stereotypical set of awful neighbour scenarios. 

This was a ‘megalomaniac’ developer who was intent on turning his town house into a cinema, but was not so keen on answering letters from solicitors to complain about two years’ of his property looking and sounding like an annoying building site for the existing resident – a psychotherapist who worked from home and needed peace and quiet to see her clients. 

The battles seemed to resolve themselves pretty quickly over the programme, which probably owed a lot to editing but it does leave this reviewer wondering how many bad situations the programme makers must have found to justify making further episodes and how bad they could be if the series is to avoid an anti-climax after that awful array.

There was definitely enough there to pique my curiosity about the next episode at least.


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