British Comedy Guide

The Good Life. Image shows from L to R: Tom Good (Richard Briers), 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 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.

Full synopsis

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. 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. The Goods 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 the 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.

Later on Tom returns home with his tail in-between his legs and informs Barbara of his unsuccessful 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 speciality crops can be sold in smaller quantities for fair prices, such as asparagus. This looks like being the plan for next year. Suddenly they realise that they might have more success selling straight to the public.

Barbara sits in front of the house trying to sell to passers-by, with little success. A car pulls up in front of Barbara and Margot and Jerry 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. We go to Tom who we see dragging a small trolley around. He too seems to have had little success at selling as his trolley is still full. To make matters worse it would appear he has competition from a well-established pairing with similar goals.

Tom arrives home, and he and Barbara sit and repent about choosing such common vegetables as Jerry arrives. He offers to buy the lot but Tom and Barbara refuse his charity. They decide that they must sell at a loss but learn this valuable lesson so that they are not in the same position next year.

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

Broadcast details

Friday 5th December 1975
30 minutes


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