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 7 - Going To Pot?

Some botched household maintenance causes the Goods to enrol at a local council-run evening school. Margot soon joins Barbara in a pottery class, but her skills are somewhat lacking. For a brief moment, however, the Goods are quids-in after discovering one of Tom's hidden talents!

Further details

Barbara climbs up into the loft with a round of tea as Tom drops in from above. He has been out on the roof making repairs, but despite his best efforts it is in a sorry state. The chimney is about to go and most of the slates are somewhat dodgy - even Tom admits that this particular job is a little bit out of his skill range. Barbara suggests trying to learn some of the skills he needs at night school. Tom is completely in favour of this and so Barbara agrees to make the arrangements. Tom ventures back onto the roof promising he will be careful and boasting a great sense of balance. Mere seconds of silence pass until a screech is heard from outside and Tom's leg comes smashing through the ceiling!

Later, we rejoin the Goods at their kitchen table, reading through the school's syllabus. They agree to go to 'house maintenance' together on a Tuesday and then on Thursday Tom will do weaving whilst Barbara does pottery.

Jerry enters and insists the Goods accompany him to the pub as Margot - who no longer has any Thursday evening commitments - is driving him mad! Margot enters to catch the tail end of this comment. Tom and Barbara explain their evening class plans and suggest the Leadbetters join them. Margot agrees to join pottery with Barbara but Jerry refuses, claiming he likes his alone time on a Thursday too much. With everything agreed they head to the pub.

Some time later, the Goods have been summoned over by Margot so that they can view a special surprise: the Leadbetters' garden shed has been transformed into a 'studio' for Margot to practice her pottery, complete with wheel and kiln! The Goods are wowed at this investment, especially as neither Barbara nor Margot have attended a class yet. Margot reveals a slight secondary motive for the snap decision as it seems new neighbour Mrs Weaver is an artist, and Margot would like to take her down a peg or two - or at very least bring herself up.

The Goods ask for a quick demo of Margot's new equipment and she duly obliges. Effortlessly transforming into an authoritative instructor, she shows the pair exactly how to get everything set up. Her confidence is soon shown to be ill-placed, however, and her attempts to throw even the simplest pot leaves Tom near hysterical.

Later that night Jerry is relaxing at home with a cigar, trashy novel, Indian food and some of his favourite music - all of which Margot despises! He hears the door and Margot walks in. She wastes little time in binning the book, stubbing out the cigar, turning off the music and removing the food. The two briefly sit in silence before Margot lets Jerry know that she has left the group and won't be returning. Her reason? It seems the teacher was something of a hippy whose instruction she could not follow, and eventually made a remark about her breasts! Never the less, Jerry doesn't consider this a good enough reason, especially considering the £200 worth of equipment in Margot's studio. She shows no consideration for what is to become of it and Jerry calls it a monument to one of her tantrums. Margot is less than happy with this remark and storms out. Jerry puts his music back on and turns up the volume in defiance.

We move to the Goods' kitchen and Barbara's voice is heard asking Tom to check on the goat. Moments later she bursts into the kitchen with a package down her front and tries to hide it in a few drawers before finally deciding on a cupboard. Tom enters whilst Barbara puts some coffee on. Tom however knows that something is afoot. He has already noticed her attempt to conceal the bag as she returned from the class herself and it takes him little time to deduce her hiding place. Opening the bag despite her protestations, Tom brings out two small saucers and the cups to sit on them. The items look... unique. Barbara is embarrassed by her efforts and says that she doesn't think she is made for pottery. Tom seems to be having a similar lack of luck with weaving, explaining that he got his arm caught in the loom and had to be cut free. The pair decide to swap classes in the hope they may take to each other's better than their own. Tom asks that they have the coffee in the new cups Barbara has made. They raise their new vessels to take a drink but Tom's is already leaking...

Margot is opening birthday presents in her sitting room. Jerry sneaks in, hiding something behind his back, and asks Margot to close her eyes. He puts his concealed present in her hands and she opens it. It is a bracelet that he puts on her wrist. Just then the Goods enter through the patio doors singing Happy Birthday and present her with a pair of hand-made clay chalices. Margot is not entirely impressed by their rustic home-made charm, but she congratulates Barbara on her effort before learning of the intended class swap. Barbara tries to convince her to try weaving but it seems Margot has permanently been put off.

The door bell rings and Margot briefly disappears before returning with Mrs Weaver, who has painted Margot a beautiful view of the Thames as a present. She sits down and notices Tom and Barbara's chalices and seems very intrigued. Margot believes her interest to be equally disdainful and immediately denies purchasing them, placing responsibility in the Goods' hands. Mrs Weaver however is very impressed, particularly liking their natural charm and simplicity. She asks Tom is he would be prepared to produce half a dozen in exchange for some (much-needed) money. The Goods have a brief discussion and decide that if Tom was to undertake the commission the money could go toward materials to fix their roof. However there is one problem as the school's kiln is being hogged by another class member. Margot immediately offers use of the shed studio and kiln, and the deal is on. Mrs Weaver seems surprised by this news as clearly Margot never told her about her pottery efforts.

Later, Tom is in the studio trying to keep up with the sudden demand of his wares. Barbara enters with Geraldine and asks if she can help. Tying the goat up outside, the pair begin boxing up some orders. Tom suggests getting a professional in to fix the roof - the sudden influx of money means that they can. Barbara agrees. Suddenly Margot's screams are heard as Geraldine has broken free and made it into her garden...

Back in the Goods' kitchen, Tom and Barbara are labelling and packaging the boxes for delivery. Jerry and Margot enter with great news: they have just dined with the owner of a Chelsea gallery who would be interested in selling Tom's pottery to her prestigious clientele. The Goods are very excited at the prospect of selling Tom's work at west London prices, and Jerry begins thinking aloud as to what they would need to get the business going. Margot smiles and congratulates them on becoming normal human beings again. The Goods freeze and step back from the table. Apologising to each other, they inform the Leadbetters that in no way do they want to be normal!

They laugh about nearly being seduced back into the rat-race and realise the ludicrous reality of having hired a professional to fix their roof. Margot begs Jerry to intervene but he admits defeat. They bid goodbye and they leave Tom and Barbara to their 'peasant' ways. The Goods sit back down and Barbara asks Tom to say something reassuring. He lists all the immediate problems that they have. Barbara smiles and tells Tom that the children will be proud. Tom begins to panic but Barbara tells him not to worry, she is referring to the cat who is going to have kittens. Tom is calm before realising the cat is a Tom! Barbara however lets him know that Toms can do anything and heads upstairs.

Broadcast details

Date
Friday 23rd January 1976
Time
8:30pm
Channel
BBC One
Length
30 minutes

Repeats

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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
    Charmian May Mrs. Weaver
    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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