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 6 - Whose Fleas Are These?

When the Goods realise their house has been taken over by fleas, they a horrified to think that they have contaminated the Leadbetter household during a recent trip.

Further details

The Leadbetters are informed and Tom and Barbara are forced to inform the council. However further investigation leads to the fleas being identified as dog fleas. Tom and Barbara rush next door to inform Jerry and Margo and discover where the fleas originate.

Tom and Barbara are spending a quiet evening in the kitchen. Barbara is trying to read while Tom is playing indoor cricket. After Tom is 'out' he moves his chair over next to Barbara to relax in front of the range. Barbara tries to keep reading but finds Tom too distracting. They both sit enjoying the 'good old range' when a cloud of soot falls from above it. Barbara is worried but Tom reassures her saying that it must be time for the chimney to be swept. Just then another cloud of soot falls down onto the top of the range. Tom tells Barbara not to worry and that he will get some brushes and attempt to clean it tomorrow. Just as he starts to commend the range for its early warning system, a huge cloud falls from the chimney and engulfs the Goods.

Margo answers her front door to find the Goods standing on her doorstep covered in soot. They come in, making sure to put down the newspaper they brought with them first. They explain the situation to the Leadbetters and ask if they can have a bath as the range going out also means they have no hot water. Margo is less than welcoming but luckily Jerry is happy to help and goes to run them a bath. While Margo goes to make some drinks Tom leaves a sooty hand print on the wall. He pulls a picture across to try and cover it. Margo and Jerry return and the group stand awkwardly in the hallway trying to make conversation. As Margo starts talking about the neighbours she notices the moved picture and straightens it. She freezes after noticing the hand print and Tom swiftly heads for his bath. When Barbara begins to follow, Margo asks why she won't finish her drink? Barbara tells her that she and Tom are going to share a bath and that Margo should try it sometime. Margo is astonished and quickly extinguishes Jerry's suggestive glance.

Only when Tom and Barbara return home do they realise that washing before they cleaned the kitchen was a bad idea and decide to leave the clean up till tomorrow. As they sit to relax Barbara begins to itch her leg. Tom inspects and finds... A Flea!

The next day Tom is brewing a concoction on the range. Barbara slowly walks in and crosses the room before bursting into a frantic itching session. Tom tells her that he needs her to be a fighter and not a jibbering idiot if they are going to tackle the problem. After she agrees he lets her in on his plan of action. He plans to dunk all of the animals in the substance which is boiling on the stove as he believes that they must be the source of the fleas. He leaves the house carrying the massive tub of flea-killer. As Barbara begins to clean the kicthen the postman appears at the window. Barbara quickly slams the window and door to keep him out of the quarantined area. Eventually Barbara convinces him to put the parcel on the doorstep so that she can use the broom to drag it inside. The postman walks away blaiming films for scaring housewives of suspicious callers. Tom runs in exhausted. He is having no luck with his plan. Barbara tells Tom about the postman and admits they wont be able to keep people away forever, especially Margo and Jerry. Suddenly Barbara has a horrible thought, perhaps they brought fleas with them when they went for their bath!

Margo and Jerry are in their sitting room discussing local politics when Tom and Barbara knock on the patio windows. They communicate with the Leadbetters with a series of placards through the glass until they learn that the damage is already done. They both enter the room and struggle for words before telling Margo and Jerry that they have given them fleas. Margo tells Jerry to burn everything!

The Goods sit at home itching. They consider the ramifications of contaminating Surbiton as a car pulls up to the house. A man approaches who does his best to keep his reasons for visiting a secret. When Tom finally realises the man is NOT there to sell encyclopedias, he lets him in. Mr Bullstrode wastes little time and soon identifies the 'little offenders' as dog fleas. The Goods are thrilled as this means that they are not the source of the problem.

They rush next door and tell Jerry the news. Margo walks in and is less than pleased to see the Goods. As she turns to leave again they are quick to inform her of the news. Margo accepts this and realises 'Ben' has left some hairs on her dress. When the Goods enquire who Ben is, Margo tells them that Ben is one of her friends dogs. A silence falls over the group and the Goods wish Jerry luck as they leave the room. They wait in the garden until a scream is heard from Margo.

Broadcast details

Date
Friday 15th October 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
Michael Robbins Mr. Bulstrode
Ray Dunbobbin Postman
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 39 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?