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.

When I'm 65 is repeated on Gold on Sunday 6th December at 8pm.

Series 3, Episode 2 - The Happy Event

When Pinky the pig goes into labour in the middle of the night, it's all hands on deck.

Further details

Jerry enters the Goods' kitchen to find Tom filling in a tax return - as he has no income this takes mere moments! Jerry has come to do a favour for Tom. Pinky the pig is very pregnant and Tom needs a library book detailing what to do when the big day arrives. Jerry suggests a vet but Tom refuses the idea as a bill will be delivered as well as the piglets. As Jerry leaves to join the morning procession over London Bridge, Tom and Barbara embark on some new planting in the garden.

Later on Tom notices Margo preparing to do some gardening of her own. Even in this task Margo manages to uphold her absolute elegance and dignity! As she finally sets herself for work Tom mocks her knee cushion by asking which way Mecca is. Margo shrugs off his joke by acknowledging it and then feebly laughing at it. Tom is unimpressed but Barbara steps in to put an end to the exchange.

Barbara starts to plant the radishes, using a very unique technique involving wallpaper paste. Margo is intrigued and asks what the Goods are up to. Tom explains and then Barbara explains but Margo thinks they are both making fun of her - even though Barbara was telling the truth. They explain that this method is designed to save time as their way of life is now focused on efficiency. Margo tries to find fault in that statement by pointing out that they don't have any transport. Tom shows Margo their wheeled buggy and says that when her car is ready to be scrapped the buggy will still be going strong. To demonstrate this Barbara sits in it and subsequently breaks it. Margo returns to her marigolds with a sizeable smile on her face.

Some time later that day, Tom is in the sitting room reading the book Jerry picked up for him. Barbara joins him and Tom explains that all the signs suggest Pinky is close to giving birth. Barbara tells him that she has solved their transport problems and marches him out into the garden. Tom is alarmed to find a very big white horse! As they return inside Barbara proceeds to tell him the entire story of how she has been offered this horse for free as he was about to be retired by his owner. Tom seems to be in a slight daze, but she continues her story with the enthusiasm and energy of a child. However, Tom soon bursts the bubble by pointing out that they'll never be able to afford to feed the horse all the hay it needs, they haven't enough work for a horse to be of practical use anyway. Barbara is upset but quickly realises he right.

The doorbell rings and Tom goes to answer it. Margo enters with a present for Barbara. Unfortunately it is a riding helmet that is too big for Barbara's head, and the situation takes another unhappy turn. It seems she was aware of the horse before Tom and planned to get Barbara into her pony club. Barbara tries to inform her that the horse must go but she stops her mid-sentence knowing the problem: clearly this is a situation where the man thinks knows best and that's the end of it. Barbara is amused by this idea but lets Margo know Tom is many things but he is not a tyrant. Realising she can't win here, Margo makes to leave, but insists on informing Tom that the day of the woman is fast approaching. Tom's only reply is that with the pony club on their side the women can't lose!

That night Jerry and Margo are disturbed in bed by a constant ringing on their door bell. Jerry, in his dressing gown, opens the door to find Barbara who is rather flustered. She needs to borrow a light as the pig is finally in labour.

Tom, Barbara and Jerry are standing in the pig sty. Tom and Barbara are very excited as the fifth piglet appears. Jerry, on lighting duty, is not so enthusiastic as he is wearing expensive slippers that are now ruined. As the sixth piglet is delivered Margo appears in her pink robe, berating Jerry for leaving the front door open. Tom demands quiet and Barbara insists that Margo come and have a look at what is happening. The seventh piglet emerges and Margo tells the Goods that surely seven is enough? Tom relays the message to Pinky, but she has her own agenda and proceeds to have an eighth.

Barbara inspects the last piglet and is concerned by its size. Tom recognises that it's a runt and explains it would not be efficient to try to prolong its life. She is angry at his attitude and tells Tom efficiency is beginning to become his God; Margo is equally displeased! Barbara asks Jerry if she can use their phone before disappearing. She returns minutes later saying that the vet will not be able to come for 2 hours. Tom finally gets involved and sends everyone away in search of a different thing he needs to keep the runt alive.

As Jerry and Barbara drive off in search of oxygen from the hospital (would you believe) they are pulled over by a policeman for speeding. After the police officer works out that Jerry is not only doing twice the speed limit at 3 am but with someone else's wife whilst wearing his pyjamas, he goes for his "big book". Barbara quickly interjects that they are en route to the hospital as they have a runt to save. The policeman smiles and he informs the pair he has always wanted to do a mercy dash! He gets back in his car and the convoy speed towards the hospital.

Back in the Goods' kitchen, Tom is with the tiny newborn. Margo enters fully clothed with a bottle of brandy - and something warm for the pig, too. She wraps up the piglet and adds brandy to the milk on the stove, on Tom's command. He tells Margo she will have to feed the pig as he is making an oxygen tent. Barbara dashes through in, carrying an oxygen cylinder. She places it on the table and asks Margo for an update, who, now rather enjoying her task, gives Barbara some advice on how to feed the pig! Next through the door is the policeman, who asks Tom how the piglet is doing. Tom blindly replies before wondering who he is talking to. Jerry completes the party, looking extremely tired. As Tom is set to put his oxygen tent to work the policeman points out a missing element, but knows where it can be found. The requisite bit of tubing can be found under a car bonnet and he instructs Jerry to oblige. When Jerry refuses the policeman reminds him how fast he was driving and Jerry makes for the door.

Barbara is frantically polishing in the sitting room, waiting nervously on news from the kitchen now that the vet has arrived. With her are Jerry, Margo and the policemen - who keeps radioing back to the station to update everyone on what is happening! Tom enters from the kitchen very stern faced but lets everyone know that the battle is won. The group are all elated - except Jerry, who is only grateful he can now return to bed.

Tom thanks the policeman before he leaves who in turn tells the Leadbetters to watch their step in future. Jerry heads back to his own house soon thereafter; Margo tells Barbara that after winning on the pig issue against Tom she must now try to get the horse but Barbara says that won't be happening. Margo resigns herself to the fact that Barbara is "that sort of woman" who loves to be dominated by a man. As she makes to leave Tom stops her and reminds her that she wasn't overly opposed when he was commanding her in the kitchen to feed the pig and that he actually thinks she quite enjoyed it as her cheeks flushed! Margo denies all charges and leaves rather flustered.

With Margo's words still in her ears Barbara tells Tom to feed the pig NOW! He smiles and obliges.

Broadcast details

Date
Friday 17th September 1976
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
George Innes Police Constable Hillman
Percy Edwards Animal Noises (Voice)
Writing team
John Esmonde Writer
Bob Larbey Writer
Production team
John Howard Davies Director
John Howard Davies Producer
Paywall

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

Donate (for fans) BCG Pro

Already a donor or Pro user?