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

The Good Life

BBC One sitcom about a couple practicing self-sufficiency. 30 episodes (4 series), 1975 - 1978. Stars Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington.

Series 3, Episode 1 is repeated on BBC4 on Tuesday at 8pm.

Series 1, Episode 5 - The Thing In The Cellar

As the Goods are removed from the electricity grid, Tom builds a generator to turn the waste from their animals into electricity. However, when it's finally called into use, the generator packs up, and Tom grovels to Jerry for use of his freezer.

Further details

Barbara greets Jerry and Margo at the door to be given a present: candles! They have learned on the television that there are going to be strikes affecting power generation soon, and have stocked up on candles in preparation.

Charitably, Margo offers Barbara a pack. However Barbara politely refuses and explains that they have swapped their TV for a 50 gallon effluence digester, which should generate their own electricity from their animals' waste, if Tom knows what he is talking about. Jerry ventures down into the cellar for a demonstration as he is by no means convinced that Tom's idea can be realised.

And then there was light... eventually! Tom marches upstairs to share his delight with Barbara; however this causes friction between Margo and Jerry over their electricity bill. Tom's success in engineering causes him and Barbara to deliver a moving speech directed at the poor unfortunates of this world who do not possess their own generator. A point to the Goods! However, Jerry asks what they will be having for lunch. The Goods are well and truly beaten here and so the Leadbetters get a point themselves, much to the delight of Margo.

Whilst Tom is working in the garden, Jerry proposes a fishing trip. Tom is unsure as he just does not have the time for leisure in his hectic schedule. Barbara however thinks Tom should go as fish equals food. She brings out a book of forgotten foods in which many unfashionable fish are included. The book teaches of a rather cheap way of living, so Tom is won over and joins Jerry for the trip. He manages a catch of what another angler describes as "quantity rather than quality". Advised to throw them back due to their size, Tom refuses and is very nearly involved in a fight.

The following day Jerry is called over to look after the house as the Goods are going to collect wood from a fallen tree that the council has declared fair game to anyone who wants it. Jerry is told he is to look out for an electrician who is coming to inspect Tom's wiring on the generator. As Tom and Barbara drive off in Jerry's car, he falls asleep. He wakes some time later to find the generator has stopped, and the inspector has not appeared.

Tom returns and identifies the problem, unfortunately it means a new part is necessary and that the generator will be out of action for a few days. With no power for their freezer, this means the fish will not survive the night unless the Leadbetters have any room in theirs. Luckily for Tom and Barbara they do - unluckily for Tom and Barbara, Surbiton is having a power cut! Tom's mocking of people without generators is fresh in Jerry's ears and he takes a lot of satisfaction in the irony of the situation.

Broadcast details

Friday 2nd May 1975
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Richard Briers Tom Good
Felicity Kendal Barbara Good
Penelope Keith Margo Leadbetter
Paul Eddington Jerry Leadbetter
Guest cast
Ray Mort Angler
Writing team
John Esmonde Writer
Bob Larbey Writer
Production team
John Howard Davies Director
John Howard Davies Producer

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