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 2 is repeated on Gold on Monday at 7:40pm.

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 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

Cast & crew

Regular cast
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
Writing team
John Esmonde Writer
Bob Larbey Writer
Production team
John Howard Davies Director
John Howard Davies Producer
Brian Johnston Announcer

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