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 2, Episode 2 - The Guru Of Surbiton

Two students spend a week at the Good household, helping Tom and Barbara with the chores and observing their way of life. Guy and Ruth soon decide to establish a self-sufficiency commune, of which Tom will be patriarch. He is less keen, but they're insistent. At least at first...

Further details

Self-sufficiency is on full display as Tom and Barbara show that a barber is the sort of luxury they can no longer afford. Just as Tom is threatening to give Barbara a 'Telly Savalas', the Leadbetters arrive to offer the Goods a souvenir from their trip to Holland. During this conversation, Barbara informs Jerry that his allotment is ready. Margot immediately jumps to the conclusion that this is Jerry's plan for getting away from her, but Tom quickly sheds light on the situation.

It seems Jerry's allotment is next to Tom's, which means Tom will be able to use both in order to grow his speciality crops next year. This is Tom's loophole for the council's ruling of one allotment per person.

Then we meet the delightfully eccentric Guy, one of two students who are working for the Goods for a week. In exchange for their labour the Goods offer them board and lodging and a 'novel experience'. Jerry and Margot are sceptical but Tom and Barbara reassure them. Later that evening Tom, Barbara, Guy and his girlfriend Ruth are discussing self-sufficiency. Tom and Barbara are left speechless by their seriousness and some of their ideas, but both students seem fascinated by Tom's words of wisdom and the whole idea of his and Barbara's lifestyle. Tom suggests that the pair sleep on it and so they very obediently trot off to bed, however not before Ruth says goodnight to Tom leaving him with a sizeable grin on his face.

The following evening, Margot calls a meeting for Jerry and herself as well as the Goods. Nobody knows what it's about until Margot reveals it's to 'veto undesirables from living amongst us' - the house on the other side of the Goods has been put up for sale and Margot is hoping that they might be able to get some say in who lives in the house. Tom offers the idea that they should mind their own business.

As the discussion begins to break down, Guy appears at the patio door. Tom suspects that Guy may be about to confront him about the Ruth situation but to his surprise Guy wants Tom to know that he has fallen in love with his way of life. He tells Tom that they should form a commune in Tom's house for people who have lost their way. Tom is happy with Guy's reaction but refuses the proposal. Then to Tom's initial horror Guy informs him of his contingency plan, the purchase of the house next door. Tom rushes back and shares the news with Barbara, Jerry and Margot. The four immediately begin to think of all the negatives that it would bring to the avenue...

The next morning Guy and Ruth enter the kitchen, packed and ready to leave. As the Goods prepare to send them off, Guy admits to being a traitor. When asked what he has done, he shamefully admits that he will not be buying the house next door. The Goods feign disappointment and learn that it is due to Ruth having feelings for Tom. Guy and Ruth want to try to start a relationship and feel that distance will hopefully cause this problem to fade away. Goodbyes are said and Ruth and Guy leave. Tom and Barbara discuss Ruth's feeling until Margot arrives, announcing that she and Jerry will be moving to Cobham due to the impending commune!

Broadcast details

Date
Friday 12th December 1975
Time
8:30pm
Channel
BBC One
Length
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Richard Briers Tom Good
Felicity Kendal Barbara Good
Penelope Keith Margo Leadbetter
Paul Eddington Jerry Leadbetter
Guest cast
Bruce Bould Guy
Irene Richard Ruth
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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