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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When I'm 65

A check-up gives Jerry a wake up call and starts the Leadbetters on a health drive. After days of ridicule from Tom the two decide to settle their differences in a race around Surbiton.

Further details

Tom and Barbara call at the Leadbetters' and arrive to hear from Margo that Jerry is being examined for a pension-related routine medical check-up. He enters the sitting room to inform them all that, whilst he passed, he is not nearly as healthy as he thought he was. Tom is far from surprised and blames excess on Jerry's health issues. He scares Jerry so much that Margo asks Barbara to take him home.

The theme of death continues into the Goods' kitchen: Tom realises that when they are old they will have nothing to live off, unlike the Leadbetters who are heavily insured and will have Jerry's plush private pension.

The next day the Goods are returning home on the rotary cultivator when they see Jerry and Margo jogging back up the Avenue! Fascinated, they follow them up the driveway and and find Jerry working out in the sitting room. He admits that what the doctor said made him think about his future and so they have begun a keep-fit regime in order to prolong his life and enjoy his retirement. As the Goods leave Jerry asks Tom what he is going to live off of when he retires.

Tom goes to the bank and tries to offer ownership of his house upon his death in return for 20 years of pension payments after he retires at 65. When Tom reveals that he house is only worth £25,000 and the manager points out that the loan would be over £70,000, the 'offer' is rightly refused!

Tom tells Barbara of his worries and after joking about suicide she reassures him that they have all the time in the world to enjoy life and that's all that matters. At that moment Jerry enters and asks if he can borrow a spanner to put his wall bar up. Tom continues to mock Jerry and the two are soon throwing further jibes at each other's physical fitness. Margo enters and backs Jerry up, to which Barbara backs up Tom. A showdown is on the cards - by way of a race around the neighbourhood - and the Leadbetters withdraw to talk tactics.

The next morning the athletes line up sporting lifestyle-matching attire. The race begins, and whilst their husbands disappear off down the road Margo and Barbara retire for tea. Jerry and Tom, meanwhile, pound down streets and through parks but finally come to a sweating, breathless halt at the same point, conveniently directly outside a pub where they decide to grab a refreshment...

As Margo and Barbara wait at the finish line, Tom and Jerry round the corner together - quickly crossing the line in unison. They shake hands and declare honours even. As they turn to leave a taxi pulls up in front of the houses, with the driver waving Jerry's wallet from his window! The two husbands panic and run away again as their wives shout after them.


This episode was recorded as a special Royal Command Performance, with Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in attendance for what was reported to be their favourite television programme, in aid of a drive to fund British teams' trips to the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada. The broadcast episode is bookended by 15 minutes' footage of the Royal couple arriving at Television Centre, meeting BBC executives, and the programme's cast in the studio.

Broadcast details

Saturday 10th June 1978
45 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Tuesday 16th August 2011 7:20pm Gold
Tuesday 6th December 2011 6:05pm Gold
Wednesday 7th December 2011 10:00am Gold
Wednesday 28th December 2011 1:30pm Gold
Thursday 29th December 2011 9:55am Gold
Tuesday 3rd January 2012 1:35am Gold
Tuesday 3rd January 2012 3:00pm Gold
Sunday 22nd July 2012 12:00pm Gold
Sunday 22nd July 2012 6:40pm Gold
Saturday 8th September 2012 9:00am Gold
Sunday 6th January 2013 9:00am Gold
Monday 26th August 2013 9:00am Gold
Tuesday 27th August 2013 6:15am Gold
Saturday 28th September 2013 2:00pm Gold
Sunday 29th September 2013 8:45am Gold
Monday 28th October 2013 7:00pm Gold
Tuesday 29th October 2013 5:00pm Gold
Wednesday 24th December 2014 6:40pm BBC2
Wednesday 24th December 2014 7:25pm BBC2 Wales
Friday 25th December 2015 1:15pm BBC2
Wednesday 28th December 2016 7:00pm BBC2
Wednesday 6th December 2017 7:20pm Gold
Thursday 7th December 2017 6:15pm Gold
Sunday 24th December 2017 5:40pm Drama
Saturday 1st December 2018 11:25am Gold
Monday 10th December 2018 1:35pm Gold
Tuesday 11th December 2018 10:50am Gold
Monday 24th December 2018 7:10am Gold
Monday 24th December 2018 1:20pm Gold
Friday 31st May 2019 8:00pm Gold
Saturday 1st June 2019 11:40am Gold
Thursday 5th December 2019 12:15pm Gold
Saturday 14th December 2019 3:15pm Gold
Sunday 15th December 2019 10:05am Gold
Wednesday 18th December 2019 7:00pm Drama
Thursday 19th December 2019 4:30pm Gold
Friday 20th December 2019 12:15pm Gold
Sunday 6th December 2020 8:00pm Gold
Monday 7th December 2020 12:45pm Gold
Friday 18th December 2020 4:20pm Drama
Wednesday 31st May 2023 12:55am Gold

Cast & crew

Richard Briers Tom Good
Felicity Kendal Barbara Good
Penelope Keith Margo Leadbetter
Paul Eddington Jerry Leadbetter
Guest cast
George Cole Mr. Downs
Steve Ismay Taxi Driver
Brian Johnston Announcer
Writing team
John Esmonde Writer
Bob Larbey Writer
Production team
John Howard Davies Director
John Howard Davies Producer
John Dunstan Editor
Paul Munting Production Designer
Marianne Ford Make-up Designer
Ron Koplick Lighting Designer
Burt Rhodes Composer
Peter Shepherd Costume Designer
Brian Jones Production Assistant
Michael McCarthy Sound Designer

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