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 1, Episode 4 is repeated on Gold tomorrow at 8pm.

Series 3, Episode 5 - The Wind-Break War

When Margo is to have a new wind-break erected in her garden that would cast a shadow over the Goods' new fruit patch, Tom and Barbara ask her to move it elsewhere.

Further details

A series of misunderstandings cause both the wind-break and the fruit to be moved leaving everyone in the situation they started in. When the Goods learn that Margo has not done it through spite, they are embarrassed and apologise. This leads to a very 'merry' evening and Tom, Barbara and Jerry trying to move the windbreak themselves. Their actions cause Margo to lose the head of a statue but also discover a sense of humour.

It is late afternoon and the Goods are gardening. They notice a lot of people in Margo's garden and peek over the fence to see what is going on. They spot a man below them measuring and ask him what he is measuring for. It seems Margo is getting a wind-break put in right in front of the fence that the Goods share! Tom and Barbara keep quizzing the man until he leaves for the day. They then realise a wind-break will cast a shadow over the fruits which they have just put in. Tom decides that they need to invite Margo round to charm her into changing her mind.
Margo does come but as soon as Tom tries to charm her she knows that something is up. She eventually gets the request from Barbara and after hearing the Goods' sob story concedes and offers to move the wind-break. They then ask her what the wind-break is for and Margo excitedly tells them about the arbour she is having made in her garden for her fellow music society members to practise in. The Goods cannot help teasing her about the talentless bunch she is referring to and cause Margo to run from the room.

The next day we see the workmen put up the wind-break. Tom and Barbara are in their room debating whether they should go and apologise to Margo for the way they treated her. Tom comes to the decision that Margo is a good sort and then opens the window to find the wind-break is up in the place it was originally intended to be.

Tom and Barbara burst into the Leadbetter lounge and demand to see Margo. Jerry tells them that she has gone out. They try to make Jerry see their side of things but they lose when Jerry tells them that Margo can pay to have something put up in her own garden without asking the Goods for permission. He leaves in quite a state for London Bridge. Tom and Barbara know they lost the battle so Tom suggests that if the Leadbetters wont move the wind-break they will move the fruit and it will kill them to do it which will make the Leadbetters feel bad!
Tom and Barbara get to work in their garden and somehow manage to move all of the fruit plants before heading off for a nap.
Margo steps out of her house and asks one of the workers to join her in her drawing room. She asks him if he read the note she taped to his pick-axe that morning detailing her desire for the windbreak to be moved after having talked with Tom and Barbara. He says no as N.B. was on the envelope and he is A.B. Margo replies with 'You stupid man!' After arguing the point the wind-break is moved to its new location.
Tom and Barbara step out into their garden to enjoy the evening air and are shocked to discover that the windbreak has been moved and is once again casting a shadow over their fruit. They ask the workers who asked them to move it? A.B. or Arthur Bailey tells them that it was Margo. Tom and Barbara rush next door to confront her. They meet Jerry in the Leadbetter lounge and frantically ask him where Margo is? They tell him about the windbreak situation and suggest Margo being behind it all. Margo joins them and Tom and Barbara demand an explanation. Margo explains that her note for the windbreak to be moved in the morning were ignored and so it was moved in the evening. The Goods tell them that during the afternoon they moved all of their fruit from one spot to another as to avoid the shadow but Margo claims not to have known that. The Goods are slightly embarrassed after having jumped to conclusions. Thankfully Margo is calm about the situation and is happy that it is sorted out.

Later on Barbara and Jerry are in the kitchen. Both slightly drunk. Barbara is doing the dishes but Jerry asks her to stop as they have a dishwasher. Barbara brings over the dishes to hand to Jerry and sweeps her fringe back, Jerry asks her not to do it again though. When she inquires why he replies that 'it brings out the beast in me'. Barbara laughs but Jerry goes on by telling her he has always fancied her a bit. Just as Jerry starts talking about wife swapping, Barbara reminds him that he loves Margo and that she loves Tom. They continue to load the dishwasher until Barbara notices they are loading the freezer. They begin to search the kitchen for the dishwasher by calling for it by name!
Tom and Margo are sitting in the lounge, they too are rather drunk. Tom is writing a note of apology to Margo but asks for her help as he is struggling. He tells her how sorry he is about his behaviour earlier in the day because Margo did nothing wrong. Margo tries to take the blame by saying she gets into too many 'huffs'. She tells Tom that throughout her life she has always been the butt of the joke as she does not understand jokes. This greatly saddens Tom. Margo tells Tom not to feel sorry for her but he says he does and she says she does too and begins to cry! She tells Tom that she is not a complete woman as she does not possess a sense of humour. Without hesitation Tom tells her not to worry as he is going to go out and get her one! Tom sits beside Margo to comfort her and tells her that she must have a sense of humour as the Goods and Leadbetters always get together and have a laugh but Margo says she just pretends to understand the jokes. Tom slides down the chair getting closer and closer to Margo. They stare into each other's eyes and Tom tells Margo she has a very sexy neck. Suddenly Barbara and Jerry can be heard and Tom jumps up to sit on the arm of the chair again. He holds his finger to his lips and falls backwards off the chair out of view. Jerry and Barbara come in. Margo tells them that she and Tom have been talking and Jerry replies that that is what he and Barbara have been doing, a little too quickly. Tom and Barbara grab onto each other and attempt to head home. Margo remembers that the wind-break will need to be moved again and Jerry comes up with the brilliant suggestion that they should move it now. Tom agrees and tells Margo to join them as it will be 'a laugh'. Margo starts to cry and says 'Why? Why is it?' The other three grab the wind-break, as Margo watches, and move it away from the fence. They lift it whilst in hysterics and bring it into the middle of the garden. Tom is laughing so hard that he lets go causing the wind-break to fall right into of one of Margo's statues knocking the head clean off. The three all stop laughing and look mortified. Margo looks on expressionless and then slowly begins to laugh. Her laugh turns into hysterics and they all laugh together.

Broadcast details

Friday 8th October 1976
30 minutes


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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
    Timothy Bateson Arthur Bailey
    Roger Pope First Workman
    Desmond Callum Jones (as Desmond Cullum-Jones) Second Workman
    Writing team
    John Esmonde Writer
    Bob Larbey Writer
    Production team
    John Howard Davies Director
    John Howard Davies Producer
    Ian McKendrick Editor
    Paul Munting Production Designer
    Burt Rhodes Composer

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