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 4 is repeated on Gold tomorrow at 8pm.

Series 2, Episode 1 - Just My Bill

Tom and Barbara are left in financial trouble as they struggle to sell their surplus fruit and vegetables just as the rates need to be paid. A last-gasp search down the back of a sofa means the payment is met on time - leaving the Goods with a single penny to their name.

Further details

It seems the Goods are in a better position financially than they were when we last saw them - although they only have £3.28 left in the bank. Certainly not enough to pay the rates! Nevertheless Margot and Jerry have been invited to dinner. The guests are welcomed in and offered the house speciality of pea-pod wine, which they use to toast the harvest that they all gathered. Tom and Barbara proceed to show the Leadbetters the fruits (and vegetables) of their labours.

It appears that the Goods have transformed a spare bedroom into their storage room due to its optimum conditions. Tom shares his plans to sell a portion of it during the year to pay the rates but Jerry thinks Tom may be in for a nasty shock. He thinks finding a buyer may not be as easy as Tom expects - Tom surprises Jerry however by announcing that he already has one... or so he thinks. Unfortunately for Tom a misunderstanding leaves him lumbered with his surplus vegetables and without £90: he can only supply seasonal veg, once a year, not 12-months round! As a one-off he's been offered £70 by a restaurant, but it's not what he needs.

Later on Tom returns home with his tail between his legs and informs Barbara of a disastrous day. He also reveals a tip that he picked up from a greengrocer whilst trying to offload his goods: regular fruit and veg is normally bought in bulk, but less common, speciality crops such as asparagus can be sold in smaller quantities for fair prices. This looks like being their commercial plan for next year. In the meantime, they realise that they might have more success with their current haul by selling straight to the public.

Barbara sits in front of the house with a makeshift stall, trying to sell to passers-by with little success. A car pulls up and the Leadbetters emerge: Margot is very unhappy and suggests that Barbara's stall could cause falling house prices, whilst Jerry is more worried about the Goods trading without a licence! Barbara hurriedly covers up the stall.

Tom, meanwhile, is walking streets in the neighbourhood with a heavily-laden trolley in tow. He's cheerfully issuing his cry for potential customers, but has evidently had little success as the trolley is still full. To make matters worse, a van rounds the corner and pulls up behind him. A small, elderly gentleman, Mr Boxall, emerges and proceeds to threaten Tom for encroaching onto his patch. Evidently a greengrocer with a longstanding private business and home delivery route of his own, Tom observes that he's acting more like the mafia and refuses to play ball - until Boxall calls his assistant from the van, and great, lumbering hulk emerges! Tom takes to his feet and flees, vegetables spilling onto the roadway in his wake.

Arriving back at the house, and he and Barbara sit and repent about choosing such common vegetables to grow when Jerry arrives. He offers to buy the lot but the Goods refuse his charity. They decide that they must sell at a loss and simply pay as much of the rates bill as they can, whilst learning this valuable lesson so that they are not in the same position next year.

Later on, Margot is paying her rates in a way that only she could. As she is leaving Tom and Barbara enter the office to pay their bill in a way that only they can: with two cheques and a bag of copper pennies! They reassure Margot that they know what they are doing as she shows her concern. As they talk, the official, Mr Squires informs the Goods that they have overpaid - by one penny.

Broadcast details

Friday 5th December 1975
30 minutes


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    Cast & crew

    Regular cast
    Richard Briers Tom Good
    Felicity Kendal Barbara Good
    Penelope Keith Margo Leadbetter
    Paul Eddington Jerry Leadbetter
    Guest cast
    Wolfe Morris Michelangelo Lombardi (Restaurant Manager)
    Frank Gatliff Mr. Squires (Clerk)
    Blake Butler Ronnie Boxall (Van Driver)
    Ruth Kettlewell Charity Collector
    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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