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 3, Episode 3 is repeated on Gold today at 6:20pm.

Series 2, Episode 6 - Home Sweet Home

A great opportunity arises for the Goods which promises to boost their earnings considerably.

Further details

A small farm is for sale with 8 acres of land. After realising the countless benefits this would bring to their way of life they decide to buy it. However, the Goods independently tell their neighbours of their reservations!

Barbara dashes into the kitchen from the garden and frantically clears the kitchen table. She leaves again to help Tom bring in what appears to be two halves of an animal. Tom announes that Perky that has become the latest casualty of the self sufficiency way. Margot enters and immediately notices the two half animals on the kitchen table. She appears baffled that the Goods have made this decision after all the love and affection bestowed upon Perky and tells of her shock at the coolness of both of them after performing such a barbaric act. Tom explains that this was always the plan and Barbara dismisses the coolness remark and claims she did infact shed a tear for Perky. They both stress that practicality is on show here. Margot then asks a 'practical question' which is why is one half of their pig a sheep? She then finds out the Goods made a trade with the butcher. Barbara notices that Margot is even more dressed up than normal and asks where she is going. It appears that Margot has popped over to inform the Goods of some good news and invites them into their own sitting room to deliver it. She tells them that the new occupants of the vacant house (The Weavers) have qualified as acceptable in her eyes. Tom and Barbara wait for more but no more comes. The pair tease Margot for being an unashamed snob which she immediately admits to. Barbara asks Margot is she considers them to be an unsightly mark on the coffee table that is, The Alley. Margot at first says yes but follows by saying that the fact that they can no longer do anything to shock her is helping the situation. There is an uneasy pause and Tom sits on the other side of Margot to Barbara. He then breaks the silence by asking Barbara what time the boar walker is coming. Margot enquires about what the job of a boar walker is much to her regret. Margot is definately shocked and panics that the new neighbours will witness this over the garden fence by accident. Margot swiftly leaves.
The next morning Tom, Barbara and the boar walker (plus boar) are in the garden. The 3 help the boar into the enclosure so that he can 'service' Pinky. As Tom offers the boar walker a tour of the garden, Barbara notices that Margot has made every attempt to obscure her view of it. Tom pops his head under the sheet and thanks Margot for allowing the pigs some privacy!

After the tour Tom, Barbara and their guest move to the kitchen where they have some home made wine. The Goods quiz him on his opinions of their efforts. Tom however is shocked to discover that the boar walker, who is also a farmer, is only moderately impressed with their operation. He believes that they are making things very difficult for themselves and offers some tips. After being convinced that this is supposed to be the Goods way of life, and not a hobby as he first assumes, the farmer lets the Goods know about a small-holding of 8 acres that he thinks they may be interested in. To begin with they both have reservations about the idea but decide to at least have a look at it. The farmer gives them a round trip plus tour and drops them off at the train station afterwards. They wait till he leaves before beginning the walk home due to lack of funds for the fare.

The Leadbetters and Mrs Weaver are stood in the Alley discussing the dignity of the Alley just as Tom and Barbara drive past on the back of a lorry. They dismount and head into their house. Looks are shared between Margo and Mrs Leadbetter.

Tom enters the sitting room to find Barbara doing some paper work. He informs her that he has been having a think and has now thunk. He then goes on what can only be described as a rant about why they would be 'mugs' not to buy the small-holding. Tom puts Barbara on the spot and asks her for one reason why it wouldn't be a practical move. She has no reason to give and Tom exits the room to speak to an estate agent. Barbara is left alone looking less than happy about this turn of events.

Jerry and Margot are relaxing in their sitting room. Margot (eventually) tells Jerry that she will miss the Goods. She tells Jerry that she will miss Barbara more and he agrees. Margot quickly quizzes him on the reason for him missing Barbara more and only by sending a compliment Margot's way does he escape from this situation unscathed. Just then Barbara appears at the patio doors. She is warmly received and asks if the Leadbetters will allow their phone to be the Goods line to the estate agent. Margot reassures Barbara that this will be fine. The three sit and all seems well until Barbara bursts into tears claiming that she doesn't want to go! She gives her reasons and claims that she hasn't told Tom as this move is complete common sense and her reasons for wanting to stay are silly. Margot threatens to tell Tom which results in Barbara threatening violence if she does. Jerry calmly tells Barbara that he thinks telling Tom is something that needs to be done. Barbara says that she can't as it may threaten their way of life and exits the way she came in. Margot then has a rant at Jerry claiming that men have alot to answer for! This leaves Jerry feeling slightly hard done by.

The next morning Jerry walks into the Goods kitchen and announces he may have found a buyer for the Good residence. Tom quizzes Jerry about what the buyer is like and asks whether they will look after the house. Jerry is surprised by this sudden sentimentality on Tom's part. Tom lets Jerry know that the house has served them well and that they have alot of memories here and wants to know that it is going to someone who will take care of it as much as they did. Jerry lets Tom know that he will tell the perspective buyer that the deal is on but it seems Tom has other ideas and lets Jerry know that he doesn't want to move but hasn't the courage to tell Barbara. Jerry assures him that it is in his best interests to do so and leaves. Tom walks around the kitchen smiling as he does so. Barbara walks in with 14 eggs from the hen house. The engage in small talk before simultaneously attempting to let their true emotions out at last. Barbara gets in first and tells Tom how she feels about the move and says that she wants to grow old in their house. Tom hugs her and takes advantage of the oppertunity. He tells Barbara that her feeling mean everything and that she should stop crying and not worry as sensitivity is all part of a woman's make-up. She commends Tom on being able to think with his head instead of his heart. Tom smiles and tells her that they will stay in their house. Barbara is extremely happy with this decision and grabs Tom in thanks. Just then Jerry enters and rumbles Tom by assuming Tom told Barbara. All Tom can do is smile. Barbara stalks Tom around the table before chasing him out into the garden.

Margot and Mrs Weaver are standing on the footpath infront of the house and are discussing the Goods. Margot tells Mrs Weaver that the Goods are nice people and that the earlier glimpse of them was not typical behaviour. Mrs Weaver smiles and takes this on board. Just then Barbara chases Tom into the front garden and throws an egg at him. The egg narrowy misses Tom, only to strike Mrs Weaver on her arm. The Goods swiftly return indoors, leaving the two women speechless.

Broadcast details

Friday 16th January 1976
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Richard Briers Tom Good
Felicity Kendal Barbara Good
Penelope Keith Margo Leadbetter
Paul Eddington Jerry Leadbetter
Guest cast
Edwin Brown Mr. May
Charmian May Mrs. Weaver
Writing team
John Esmonde Writer
Bob Larbey Writer
Production team
John Howard Davies Director
John Howard Davies Producer

Supporters and subscribers get more

Additional content and tools are available across the site for Supporters and BCG Pro subscribers. On this page you can:

  • Broadcast details of 53 further repeats of this episode
  • BCG Pro business users can see additional crew credits  
    If you join BCG Pro business, you can see composer, editor, lighting designer, production designer, costume designer, make-up designer & production assistant credits for this episode.

Donate (for fans) BCG Pro

Already a donor or Pro user?