BBC Radio 4, 8 November 2012
Emile Jovis, the director of a travel agency (Jamie Glover) moves from
the centre of Paris to a new development at the edge of the city. This is done for the best of intentions; to provide
a better life for his wife Irene (Alison Pettit) and son Alain (Sam Alexander).
However things do not quite turn out as planned. Alain finds it difficult to
settle, while Irene has little to do apart from work part-time at a local child-minding service. Emile himself finds
that life at home is so boring that he begins to listen to what his neighbours are saying; and finds himself fascinated by
a series of brusque and sexually explicit conversations.
In his desire to find out more, Emile is drawn into a world of seedy strip-clubs
and rapacious bar staff. He sacrifices most of his moral principles - including fidelity to his wife - and ends up spending
the night with stripper Blanche (Robin Weaver).
As he plunges deeper and deeper into this new world, so his state of mind becomes
more and more disturbed. His Christian sense of guilt reasserts itself, prompting him to make wild conclusions about
what he sees around him. Eventually his mind becomes so unhinged that we do not know whether he actually created a fantasy-world
that prevents him from seeing what is in front of him.
A study of a man with a fecund imagination, The Neighbours was a fascinating
piece, due in no small part to a towering central performance from Jamie Glover as Emile. The director was David Ian