The Good Life. Image shows from L to R: Barbara Good (Felicity Kendal), Tom Good (Richard Briers), Jerry Leadbetter (Paul Eddington), Margo Leadbetter (Penelope Keith). Copyright: BBC

Key details

Channel 5
Gina Esmonde, Robert Ross, Ingrid Seward, Jason Hazeley, Bonnie Greer, James Hogg, John Thomson, Richard Webber and more
Kate Staples, Mark Roberts, Mark Harrison, Gabriella Meade, Samuel Wilkinson and Alison Dennison

The Good Life is one of the most successful British sitcoms of all time. Millions of viewers tuned in to watch the antics of the Goods and the Leadbetters, two of the oddest odd couples in Surbiton. The programme may have been a by-word for cosiness - it was the Queen's favourite sitcom, no less - but behind the soft exterior lay a surprisingly hard centre, with storylines tackling mid-life crises, drunken wife-swapping, and chickens named after famous Communists.

Secrets & Scandals Of The Good Life reveals the truth of how one of the most unlikely British sitcom successes was really made.

The documentary reveals how a special Royal episode (requested by The Queen herself) was nearly derailed by a Blue Peter dog on the day of recording. It also exposes the secrets of the cast's off-screen friendships, including one dinner party that nearly ended in disaster, as well as lifting the lid on the personal scandals of the sitcom's stars.

The show further reveals how the cast could have looked very different, and how the sitcom might have been unrecognisable if creators had gone ahead with their original idea of filming it all on a yacht.

There are also revelations about how the show tackled the role of women, including the notorious episode featuring the Goods' home brew, which nearly ended in adultery, and how the producers had to fight to allow the female characters to drink on screen as well - as the scandalous press treatment of Felicity Kendall's iconic character, Barbara.


Additional details

Also known as
  • The Good Life: Secrets & Scandals (Billed title)

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Friday 12th August 2022 at 9pm on Channel 5
Episode length
1 hour
All previous repeats
  • Saturday 17th February 2024 at 5:00pm on C5
  • Saturday 3rd June 2023 at 7:15pm on C5
  • Saturday 8th October 2022 at 10:10pm on C5

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