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 1, Episode 6 - The Pagan Rite

After a proposal from his old boss, Tom decides to take on some freelance work in order to treat Barbara to the pampering she misses from their old life. Barbara is furious as she thinks Tom has given up the dream but when she finds out it is for her she is extremely grateful.

Further details

Jerry calls over just in time to see Tom complete his own cobbling with rubber from and old wet-suit. The Goods are invited to dinner at Margot and Jerry's house at the request of Tom's old boss. Barbara tries to tell Jerry that he should not pander to the every whim of 'Sir' - Jerry agrees that Sir has indeed taken a liberty in making this request but would very much still like the request to be met for his own sake.

Once again it appears dinner has an ulterior motive. Sir Andy offers Tom some freelance work for an exhibition that the company is taking part in. Tom however sticks to his guns and refuses Andy's offer several times. The Goods go home and have a heart to heart in front of the range about whether they miss anything about the life they have left behind. Tom says no but Barbara misses being pampered on occasion. They speedily disappear off to the bedroom like a pair of rebelling adolescents.

The next day Tom sneaks in to the Leadbetter residence through the patio door and informs Jerry that he'd like to take on the freelance work after all. Not so he can pay the various bills they owe, but so he can afford to treat Barbara. They conceive a plan that will allow Tom full use of Jerry's study to work with not a word being mentioned to either of their wives.

Some time later, Margot pays a visit to Barbara, asking that she take in a rather hideous choir gown. Margot notices that Barbara is worried by the Goods' bills and lets her in on a little secret: she informs Barbara that whilst dusting "rather vigorously" in Jerry's study the lock on his desk popped off, revealing Tom's new drawings.

Instead of being pleased, Barbara is enraged by this shocking revelation. This confuses Margot who thought she was acting for the best. Margot is forced from the house leaving Barbara to confront Tom alone. After some physical and verbal abuse Tom confesses his reasons, which leads to another punch in the arm for being 'perfect'. The pair are soon heading out for a meal at a rather fancy restaurant and night in a posh hotel as a sort-of second honeymoon.

Whilst the Goods are away, Margot and Jerry are left in charge. We find Margot on the phone blackmailing her way onto the front row for the choral performance; Jerry returns from milking the goat soon after. The two reminisce about their own honeymoon and try to decide what to do with their night. Jerry scours the address book for people they haven't seen in a while and then restaurants they could visit. All the while Margot creeps nearer and nearer on the sofa...

Broadcast details

Friday 9th 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
Reginald Marsh Sir Andrew
Moyra Fraser Felicity
John Scott Martin Waiter
Writing team
John Esmonde Writer
Bob Larbey Writer
Production team
John Howard Davies Director
John Howard Davies Producer
Bill Harris Editor
Paul Munting Production Designer
Burt Rhodes Composer

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