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

The Good Life

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC One
  • 1975 - 1978
  • 30 episodes (4 series)

After Tom Good becomes disillusioned with his life, he packs in his job and he and his wife attempt to live a completely self-sufficient life in suburbia. Stars Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington.

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Episode menu

Silly, But It's Fun....

When the Leadbetter Christmas is cancelled, Tom and Barbara save the day by inviting them over for a self-sufficient Christmas that cost only 15p.

Further details

Tom and Barbara are preparing for Christmas. Tom has been scrounging bits and pieces while Barbara has been making paper chains for the house and the pig sty! Margo walks in and beckons them to be witness to her unending fight against tradesmen.

They all march next door where a delivery man is waiting on the sofa. Margo instructs them to measure her supposedly 9-foot tree. Both parties agree it is 8-foot, 5 and three quarter inches. Wholly unacceptable! Margo's Christmas in a van is sent back: including all the food, drink and decorations. As Margo has it out with the man in the Avenue, Jerry arrives home from his last day at work before the festive 'break' - he's exhausted and stressed out, and explains that the next five days will be filled with socialising with several groups of people that bore him senseless and all he wants is some peace and quiet over Christmas. Margo walks in with more questions and Jerry responds with frustrated venom before heading off for a bath. The Goods sneak out as the Leadbetters argue.

Later that day, Barbara is decorating the Goods' modest bonzai Christmas tree when Tom enters holding a box. She hides and surprises him, thinking it to be her Christmas present, but it in fact contains home-made Christmas crackers that don't go bang! Tom and Barbara sit down to check their total Christmas expenditure. It comes to the almighty total of 15p, which Tom is furious about until he realises that the rest was spent on balloons, which are a necessity in his mind.

It is Christmas Day and Jerry finds Margo in the sitting room, busy on the phone. It soon transpires that she's been calling round telling everyone he has chicken pox! It seems that 'Christmas is cancelled' as the delivery men do not work on Christmas Day, leaving the couple with nothing to entertain their intended various guests! Jerry is positively thrilled by this until they realise that they are not merely missing a true and decorations, but have no food or drink either! Fortuitously, the Goods appear carolling at the window. Two minutes later when all is explained the quartet head next door to have Christmas Good-style.

Tom and Jerry relax by the fire as Margo and Barbara enter from the kitchen after a terrific meal. Margo does her best to suck the fun out of the cracker-pulling but finally starts to get into the spirit of things after some words of encouragement from Tom.

After playing further games Tom declares he is hungry again and the group return to the kitchen. Margo and Jerry express their thanks to the Goods and declare it the best Christmas they've ever had. Tom and Barbara give them some home-made clothes, and while they wait for the Leadbetters to get their presents they suppose they will be given something entirely useless for their lifestyle. But then the back door opens and Margo leads a cow into the kitchen, complete with gift bow!

Broadcast details

Monday 26th December 1977
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Thursday 24th December 2009 7:30pm BBC2
Thursday 16th December 2010 7:35pm Gold
Tuesday 28th December 2010 8:30pm BBC2
Tuesday 13th December 2011 8:15pm Gold
Tuesday 20th December 2011 7:20pm Gold
Wednesday 21st December 2011 3:30pm Gold
Thursday 29th December 2011 1:40pm Gold
Friday 30th December 2011 10:40am Gold
Friday 30th December 2011 6:30pm BBC2
Sunday 8th July 2012 9:40am Gold
Sunday 8th July 2012 4:20pm Gold
Sunday 2nd December 2012 11:40am Gold
Sunday 2nd December 2012 5:50pm Gold
Monday 10th December 2012 7:00pm Gold
Tuesday 11th December 2012 12:40pm Gold
Monday 23rd December 2013 7:30pm BBC2
Saturday 20th December 2014 6:30pm BBC2
Sunday 20th December 2015 6:25pm BBC2
Sunday 25th December 2016 1:55pm BBC2
Sunday 17th December 2017 9:00pm Gold
Monday 18th December 2017 5:40pm Gold
Sunday 24th December 2017 6:40pm Drama
Monday 25th December 2017 9:10pm Gold
Sunday 16th December 2018 3:10pm Gold
Sunday 16th December 2018 8:25pm Gold
Monday 17th December 2018 12:30pm Gold
Monday 17th December 2018 5:40pm Gold
Saturday 22nd December 2018 6:00pm BBC2
Tuesday 25th December 2018 1:20pm Gold
Wednesday 26th December 2018 1:00am Gold
Wednesday 4th December 2019 12:50pm Gold
Monday 16th December 2019 3:40pm Gold
Monday 16th December 2019 8:25pm Gold
Wednesday 18th December 2019 6:25pm Drama
Sunday 22nd December 2019 8:30pm BBC4
Wednesday 25th December 2019 8:40pm Gold
Friday 18th December 2020 5:20pm Drama
Tuesday 22nd December 2020 5:30pm BBC2 Wales
Tuesday 22nd December 2020 6:00pm BBC2
Friday 25th December 2020 7:40pm Gold
Saturday 26th December 2020 3:30am Gold
Saturday 4th December 2021 8:20pm Gold
Sunday 5th December 2021 5:20pm Gold
Tuesday 14th December 2021 6:20pm Drama
Wednesday 15th December 2021 7:10pm Gold
Thursday 16th December 2021 1:40pm Gold
Tuesday 21st December 2021 6:00pm BBC2
Saturday 25th December 2021 5:55pm Gold
Sunday 26th December 2021 2:20pm BBC2 Wales
Sunday 4th December 2022 9:00pm Gold
Monday 19th December 2022 7:30pm BBC4
Sunday 25th December 2022 6:15pm Gold
Tuesday 30th May 2023 1:40am Gold
Wednesday 31st May 2023 12:20am Gold
Thursday 21st December 2023 8:30pm BBC4

Cast & crew

Richard Briers Tom Good
Felicity Kendal Barbara Good
Penelope Keith Margo Leadbetter
Paul Eddington Jerry Leadbetter
Guest cast
David Battley Bill
Writing team
John Esmonde Writer
Bob Larbey Writer
Production team
John Howard Davies Director
John Howard Davies Producer
Paul Munting Production Designer
Burt Rhodes Composer
Rupert Jarvis Costume Designer
Jean Speak Make-up Designer
Fred Wright Lighting Designer
Brian Jones Production Assistant
Laurie Taylor Sound Designer

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